Jan 29 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Thom Tillis, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, and his colleagues recently sent a letter to President Biden urging him to reject the proposal before the World Trade Organization (WTO) that would waive intellectual property (IP) protections for COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics.  Waiving protections afforded by the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IP Rights (TRIPS) would have unintended consequences for the development of new treatments for dangerous diseases, while doing little to improve access to medicine.

“We appreciate your partnership with Congress in combatting COVID-19 throughout the global public health emergency that began in 2020. By working together to ensure that lifesaving vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 are accessible to every American and broadly available around the world, our collaborative efforts have reduced global COVID-19 deaths to their lowest levels since the pandemic began and led the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare an end to the global public health emergency last year,” the senators wrote.

“Despite this success in overcoming the pandemic, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are still seeking to weaken global intellectual property (IP) protections for medicine to treat COVID-19. The proposal from countries including India, South Africa, and China would waive the protections afforded by the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IP Rights (TRIPS) with respect to COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics. Such a waiver would not improve global access to these medicines and would have significant adverse consequences for American manufacturers, innovation, and global competitiveness. We strongly oppose waiving IP protection for these products, and we urge you to oppose this proposal at the WTO,” the senators continued

“We welcome continued partnership with your Administration to solve challenges in global public health, and we ask that you champion American innovation and competitiveness by opposing efforts to waive IP protections at the WTO,” the senators concluded.

Read the full letter HERE.