On November 19, 2020, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives sent a letter to Trade Minister Mary Ng and Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne, urging the Canadian government to support the WTO proposal from South Africa and India for a “Waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19.”
"We realize that intellectual property rights are not the only impediment to equitable access for all to COVID-19 treatments, vaccines, and medical supplies. But it is well documented that existing TRIPS obligations that create patent monopolies and data secrecy restrictions impose significant barriers to the rapid development of and affordable access to diagnostics, medicines and treatments," reads the letter.
"For the duration of the pandemic, at least, these barriers should be removed. All countries around the world should be able to make rapid use of the knowledge generated by COVID-19 research, much of which, in the case of vaccines, is supported by public financing and governments’ advanced market commitments."
The waiver will be discussed for a second time at an upcoming TRIPS Council meeting at the WTO. For a copy of the CCPA's letter in support of the waiver, please write Scott Sinclair, director of the Trade and Investment Research Project, at [email protected].