The World Trade Organization (WTO), following a proposal from India and South Africa, has opened negotiations to temporarily release the patents, but so far the US has blocked the plan, along with the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Switzerland, Brazil and Norway. However, now that Biden has changed his mind, there is a ray of hope that other troublemakers will also give the proposal a second chance.
“We are for the release of patents at the WTO, we are for what the proponents of the release want to achieve, namely better access (to vaccines, ed.), More production capacity and more punctures,” said Tai.
These extraordinary times and circumstances of call for extraordinary measures.
– Ambassador Katherine Tai (@AmbassadorTai) May 5, 2021
Thai warns that it is a long and arduous process before the WTO actually comes up with steps to release patents, because the World Trade Organization only comes to decisions because consensus is required among all members. Moreover, the main stakeholders, the pharmaceutical companies themselves, are against any proposal to release the patents for commercial reasons.