TRIPS waiver deal in WTO to help countries make COVID-19 vaccines: Piyush Goyal

Goyal said that India already has a number of COVID vaccines and can help other developing countries to make vaccines

Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal yesterday said intellectual property rights (TRIPS) waiver for five years agreed in the recently concluded WTO meet will help developing countries manufacture patented COVID vaccines to deal with the pandemic.

Goyal said that India already has a number of COVID vaccines and can help other developing countries to make vaccines.

Members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) last week agreed to grant a temporary patent waiver for manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines for five years.

Under this, a country will be able to issue a compulsory licence to its domestic pharma firms to make that vaccine without taking approval from the original maker. Besides, it was also decided to permit export of those vaccines.

However, talks on including therapeutics and diagnostics, as proposed by India and South Africa, under the purview of this waiver, would start after six months.

“We have sufficient types of vaccines… So, for the current strains of COVID-19, we do not need this TRIPS waiver. We have supported it more for the other developing countries to manufacture vaccines,” he told reporters.

He added that India has also offered to many developing countries that if they want vaccine production in their country, Indian pharma firms are “ready, willing and happy” to support them to set up units.

“In the future, when diagnostics and therapeutics come in (under the patent waiver purview)…we can use this TRIPS waiver to start manufacturing it with their (foreign company having patent) technologies in India,” he said.

On agriculture and fisheries subsides, the minister said that India has fully protected the interests of farmers and fishermen.

“We did not come under any pressure..We are known as deal makers and not deal breakers…We stick to our issues…Indian farmers are fully protected,” he added.

On agriculture, he said that no questions would be asked on India’s public stock holdings, procurement through minimum support price and support given to farmers.

However, several of the issues, including India’s demands for finding a permanent solution to the issue of public stock holding for food security purposes and permitting government-to-government sale of food grains from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) stocks could not be addressed.

Edits by EP News Bureau

COVID-19 vaccinesPiyus GoyalTRIPS waiverWTO
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