[Vaccine-manufacturing] Politico: Wealthy nations try to neutralize language in WHO resolution

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue Apr 27 09:54:05 PDT 2021

*Wealthy nations try to neutralize language in WHO resolution*

-- By Ashleigh Furlong
April 27, 2021, 5:45 pm | View in your browser

Several wealthy nations have tried to water down language on sharing the
know-how related to the production of medical products during pandemics, in
a draft resolution set to be presented at the World Health Assembly in May.

The document, obtained today by POLITICO
illustrates the division between nations such as the U.S., Switzerland and
Canada on the one hand, and low- and middle-income countries on the other.
The resolution, which has been led by the EU, is dated April 20 and still
needs to be finalized. POLITICO previously reported on the EU’s unedited

In the document, Canada repeatedly requests the inclusion of the word
“voluntary” to describe sharing health-related technologies, with
Switzerland and the U.S. also calling for this to be on “mutually agreed
terms.” This comes as several wealthy nations continue to block a proposal
at the World Trade Organization that would waive intellectual property
rights for coronavirus-related medical products during the pandemic.

The resolution is of particular importance because it’s the first step
toward a WHO pandemic treaty, explained Thiru Balasubramaniam, Geneva
representative of Knowledge Ecology International. World leaders have
previously called for such a treaty to address future health emergencies

In one instance, the U.S. asks for the deletion of the word “fair” in a
line that says greater collaboration between the public and private sectors
can “facilitate fair pricing.” A handful of low- and middle-income
countries including Mexico, India and Botswana call for the word “fair” to
be retained. Several countries including Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru and
Mexico also call for a specific mention of the WHO COVID-19 Technology
Access Pool and other voluntary patent pools.

Asked about the potential deletion of “fair,” Balasubramaniam said that the
Biden administration’s opposition “signals business as usual.”

Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org

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