MSF analysis of EU communications to TRIPS Council on COVID-19 IP waiver proposal
This document replaces a previous version published 15 June 2021.
On behalf of the European Union (EU), on 4 June 2021, the European Commission (EC) submitted a communication to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Council for Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Council). This attempt was seen as countering the proposal for a temporary TRIPS waiver on intellectual property (IP) on COVID-19 medical tools, led by South Africa and India with 63 co-sponsoring WTO members. On 18 June 2021, the EU formatted its communication into a draft WTO General Council declaration text and submitted it to the TRIPS Council. The substance of the texts in the two EU submissions is the same.
In parallel, the EU submitted a communication to the WTO General Council containing IP elements suggesting that governments should encourage voluntary actions of pharmaceutical corporations towards the expansion of production, and recommending reliance on ‘clarified’ compulsory licenses on patents.
In this briefing document, MSF analysed these EU proposals, finding them weak and bringing nothing new to the table.