In October 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the governments of India and South Africa submitted a proposal at the WTO for a temporary waiver to the 1994 International TRIPS agreement. The proposal would allow any country to produce Covid-19 vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other tools in light of the global public health emergency. Over 100 of 164 WTO members have expressed support including the USA, China, and Russia. The EU, UK, and South Korea are notable non-supporters. To what extent will the waiver, if passed, actually help curtail the global pandemic? Are there even better alternatives to the waiver of TRIPS for curtailing suffering and saving lives from Covid? Based on decades of engagement with IP law in the WTO, Jayshree Watal argues that the waiver is a distraction from the pressing issues and there are potentially more effective alternatives.
- Jayshree Watal, Professor, National Law University, Delhi/Georgetown
- Moderator: Sridhar Venkatapuram, Chair, Independent Resource Group for Global Health Justice