Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is committed to making the COVID-19 vaccine readily available worldwide and is considering waiving the intellectual property (IP) rights enjoyed by vaccine makers to improve that access.
Speaking to reporters at a Govt-19 conference today, Trudeau said Canada understands that “this epidemic will not end anywhere if it does not end everywhere.”
Although he acknowledged that poorer countries needed higher doses quickly, he stopped short of approving a plan to remove IP protections for vaccines, which could increase vaccine production by local manufacturers in developing countries.
Instead, Trudeau announced $ 5755 million in new funding for accelerated access to COVID-19 tools (ACT) to develop, manufacture and distribute diagnostic, therapeutic and vaccine products to low- and middle-income countries.
Canada has already committed more than $ 940 million to the ACT and COVAX facility, a global vaccine distribution initiative.
With these investments, Canada is now number one The most generous countries in the world In terms of support for developing countries, COVID-19 beats to buy displays at unsatisfactory times.
Canada is embroiled in an ideological dispute between Western nations over the IP issue.
US President Joe Biden said this week that his administration would not block efforts to ease IP security. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, has said she opposes such a move, arguing that it threatens to undermine innovative drug companies by doing little to address the global vaccine supply crisis because there are few countries that make MRNA products such as Pfizer and Moderna. .
Asked if his neutral stance was driven by fears of retaliation from pharmaceutical companies opposing a new IP regime, Trudeau said Canada wants to be a mediator between the two sides in this divisive debate.
Watch: Trudeau says Canada is working to improve access to Govt vaccines for other countries
He said Canada wants to bring global consensus to a balance that protects companies that bring life-saving products to market by improving access to displays in the Southern Hemisphere.
“We know we have to work together as one world to get to the right place,” Trudeau said. “I assure you that Canada has not interfered or prevented anything and is working hard for a solution that benefits everyone.”
In a statement, International Trade Minister Mary NG said, “Canada is ready to discuss plans for a waiver of intellectual property protection under the World Trade Organization agreement on TRIPs, especially for the COVID-19 vaccine.”
This is a reference to the World Trade Organization agreement on the trade-related aspects of intellectual property (TRIPS), which governs the transfer of assets in everything from music copyright to vaccine-production specifications.
While open to the debate on security relaxation, NG said Canada “strongly believes in the importance of IP protection and recognizes the industry’s integrated role in innovations in the development and delivery of life – saving COVID – 19 vaccines.”
He also suggested that there were “barriers to vaccine access” that were “unrelated to IP, such as supply chain restrictions”.
Strong IP protections
Any move to remove IP protections will be strongly opposed by some of the makers of these COVID-19 products, who have spent billions of dollars to create displays and expect returns on their investment.
While some companies, such as AstraZeneca, agree to sell their vaccines on a nonprofit basis, others – such as Pfizer – do not receive government funding to do research and make a shot and expect to make a profit by selling their work.
Innovation Drugs Canada, an industry group representing some pharmaceutical companies, said it was opposed to any discounts.
It said in a statement that “trade barriers, global supply chain disruptions and shortage of raw materials affecting the supply of COVID-19 vaccines will not be addressed.”
Biden’s trade representative Katherine Tai signaled this week that the United States would be open to IP action in an effort to increase production in poorer countries where access to vaccines is limited.
Canada, the United States, the European Union, progressive groups and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been under pressure to hand over IP rights as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in some countries.
This week, a group of 65 MPs also wrote a letter in support of Trudeau’s proposed WTO dismissal.
In a statement, Diana Sarosi, director of policy and campaigns for Oxfam Canada, a nonprofit dedicated to poverty alleviation, criticized Canada’s “wait and see attitude”.
“What the world needs is Canada’s full support for the waiver of intellectual property protection for COVID – 19 vaccines.
“Canada continues to prioritize profits over public health.”
Republican lawmakers in the United States vehemently oppose Biden’s decision, saying a congressional hearing about it could be a “direct violation of US intelligence and innovation” and that it would “intelligently transfer US intellectual property to countries such as China.”
But Conservative leader Erin O’Toole said Canada supports abandoning the IP claims.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, O’Toole said the Conservatives would support the suspension of IP rules, “helping to get vaccines around the world faster.”
“We must fight COVID-19 around the world, and Canada must play its part,” he said.
In a separate letter to Trudeau, O’Toole urged the Prime Minister to follow Biden’s path, saying “developed nations need to do more to vaccinate developing nations.”
O’Dowell said Canada should also rapidly increase domestic vaccine production capacity and divert some footage made in Canada to the Kovacs initiative. The National Research Council is working with Maryland-based vaccine maker NovaVox to produce a vaccine at the Royalmount facility in Montreal, but production is not expected to begin until December.
“This is not only the right decision from a humanitarian standpoint, but it will help combat dangerous escalation and the spread of variation,” the Tory leader said.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday with representatives of the Black Cubacois, Green and Liberal parties, the NDP MP said: Dan Davis, a member of parliament from all walks of life in general, agrees that Canada should waive trade rules on the Commons vaccine IP.
Davis, the party’s health commentator, said trade rules created to protect intellectual property in “ethical times” had no place in this kind of crisis.
“We’re not talking about running shoes or farm equipment. We’re talking about a global health crisis, a planetary epidemic, which puts all of us at risk,” he said, adding that many successful vaccines were developed using public funds.
“We know this – the COVID virus knows no boundaries.”
The French president accused it of being ‘Anglo-Saxons’
The United States and several other countries have previously blocked talks with the World Trade Organization over a plan by India and South Africa to waive protections for certain patents and technologies and increase vaccine production in developing countries.
The initial IP discount plan includes vaccines, treatments, diagnostic tools, ventilators, safety gear and other products needed to fight infection.
In this case, the United States is holding other rich countries unprotected.
Merkel of Germany suggested that the removal of IP rights would not address current COVID-19 distribution concerns. Bioentech, a German company, has patented an MRNA vaccine jointly developed with Pfizer.
“The controlling factor in vaccine production is productivity and high standards, not patents,” a German government spokesman said. “The protection of intellectual property is a source of innovation and should remain so in the future.”
Ahead of the EU summit in Porto, Portugal, French President Emmanuel Macron also opposed the relaxation of IP laws.
The main problem causing global distribution problems is the vaccine hoarding of the UK and the United States, the countries he called “Anglo-Saxon”.
“What’s the current issue?” He asked. “This is not really about intellectual property. Can intellectual property be given to laboratories that do not know how to produce and will not produce tomorrow? The main issue for unity is the distribution of quantities.
“Today, Anglo-Saxons block these products and vaccines. Today, 100 percent of the vaccines produced in the United States are for the U.S. market.”
Last December, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order that drugmakers must first supply the US government before helping other countries.
Trump’s Operation Warp Speed - the U.S. goal of developing a vaccine and mass-producing it and pushing it out of communities – provided funding to help Moderna and other companies develop their products.
Fitter began easing some of these export restrictions by allowing shipments from his Kalamazoo, Mitch plant to Canada and Mexico.