[Ip-health] UNAIDS press statement: UNAIDS supports a temporary WTO waiver from certain obligations of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Oct 15 08:09:38 PDT 2020


PRESS STATEMENTUNAIDS supports a temporary WTO waiver from certain
obligations of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention,
containment and treatment of COVID-19

GENEVA, 15 October 2020—Today, the World Trade Organization’s Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council meets to consider a
proposal presented by the Governments of South Africa and India for a
temporary waiver of certain TRIPS obligations in order to facilitate an
appropriate response to COVID-19. The aim is to create certainty and
clarity, guaranteeing freedom to operate, innovate, procure and scale up
manufacturing capacities in essential health technologies at the required
scale. The waiver would reduce transaction costs and eliminate key barriers
across the research and development cycle and the supply chain for the
access and delivery of health technologies to prevent, diagnose and treat

“UNAIDS fully supports this proposal, which reflects the urgency and global
health emergency that COVID-19 represents,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive
Director of UNAIDS. “Its adoption will enable countries to work together to
establish national and multilateral strategies to promote innovation of,
and access to, medicines, diagnostics, vaccines and other health

Global solidarity and shared responsibility have been recognized as
fundamental principles that guide the United Nations system response. There
is a growing consensus that universal access to health care, and to
COVID-19 health technologies, must be a global public good.

In response to the colliding pandemics of COVID-19 and HIV, UNAIDS has
adopted a multisectoral and people-centred approach in order to protect the
gains for people living with and affected by HIV and to drive progress
towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The AIDS community knows that in
order to tackle public health threats a focus on inequality is essential,
including inequalities in access to solutions, whether vaccines,
diagnostics or therapeutics.

“We cannot repeat the painful lessons from the early years of the AIDS
response, when people in wealthier countries got back to health, while
millions of people in developing countries were left behind,” Ms Byanyima
added. “If we continue with business as usual we will fail in delivering
fair access to COVID-19 treatments for all those in need. Yet fair access
is the human right of everyone, no matter the colour of their skin, the
money in their pocket or the country they live in.”

A range of solutions will be needed in order to ensure equal access and to
unlock supply. UNAIDS calls for support for the multilateral solutions that
are on the table and for collaboration through fostering the transfer of
technology and mass-producing health products, using a public health lens.


The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires
the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero
discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of
11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO,
UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national
partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the
Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org
<http://www.unaids.org/en> and connect with us on Facebook
<http://www.facebook.com/UNAIDS>, Twitter <http://twitter.com/#!/UNAIDS>,
Instagram <https://instagram.com/unaidsglobal> and YouTube

tel. +41 22 791 4237
communications at unaids.org
Sophie Barton-Knott
tel. +41 79 514 6896/+41 22 791 1697
bartonknotts at unaids.org

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

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