Covid-19 Vaccine Makers Press Countries to Oppose Patent Waiver - (The Wall Street Journal via NewsPoints Desk)

  • People familiar with the matter say that since the US decided recently to back a proposed patent waiver on COVID-19 vaccines, pharmaceutical trade groups have been moving to support Germany, Japan and other countries that have expressed opposition to the idea, reported The Wall Street Journal.

  • The industry lobbyists have told the governments, in meetings and phone calls, that a waiver would not address shortages any time soon, while straining raw material supplies to make the vaccines, the people said. Industry lobbyists have also met with White House officials to argue for alternative actions, the people said.

  • Meanwhile, industry representatives have been pressing members of the US Congress to try to convince the Biden administration to reverse its support of the waiver, according to the people and a lobbyist email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

  • The World Trade Organization (WTO), which has the power to grant drug-patent waivers if all 164 member countries agree, is scheduled to hold a ministerial conference starting in November.

  • However, according to the people, the drug industry hopes that by then, the US and other developed countries will have lifted trade barriers that have so far limited access to manufactured vaccine doses and raw materials, which could ease the pressure to waive patents.

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