On Thursday 6 May, the Biden Administration expressed its support for the lifting of patents protecting the production of Covid-19 vaccines. “This is an act of true leadership which at last meets the expectations of countries severely affected by the pandemic, humanity’s worst health crisis in a century,” said Jennifer De Temmerman (France, ALDE), Chair of the Subcommittee on Public Health and Sustainable Development and rapporteur on “Covid-19 vaccines: ethical, legal and practical considerations”.
In Resolution 2361 (2021), adopted in January, the Assembly called for Covid-19 vaccines to become a “global public good, accessible to all, everywhere”. It urged member States and the European Union to “overcome the barriers and restrictions arising from patents and intellectual property rights in order to ensure the widespread production and distribution of vaccines in all countries and to all citizens”.
Ms De Temmerman encouraged member States to support this momentum, as the disease continues to wreak havoc in the poorest countries, including through a transfer of capacity by the industry as soon as possible. “I hope that a win-win solution will be found very soon within the World Trade Organisation,” she added.
Finally, Ms De Temmerman said she had signed a cross-party appeal launched by Oxfam France to lift patents on Covid-19 vaccines and encouraged her colleagues in the Parliamentary Assembly to do the same.