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Covid 19: Calls for patent waivers to allow poorer countries to develop their own Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity to boost availability

"South Africa leads backlash against big pharma over Covid vaccine access"

The domination of global medicine by major pharmaceutical companies needs to be confronted to provide fairer access to vaccines, a leading South African official has said. The scramble over Covid vaccines should alert rich countries to the power of profit-driven companies that control production of crucial medicines, said Mustaqeem De Gama, South Africa’s delegate at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on intellectual property rights. “While Rome is burning, we are fiddling around [waiting],” said De Gama, who called on nations where many of these pharmaceutical firms are based to stop blocking a patent waiver proposed at the WTO.

Backed by dozens of developing countries, the proposal, introduced by South Africa and India, argued that bypassing intellectual property rights would allow more of the world’s population to be quickly vaccinated by boosting production.