Over 100 US lawmakers urge Biden to support TRIPS waiver proposal of India
In their letter dated April 30, the lawmakers said that from a global public health perspective, this waiver is vital to ensuring sufficient volume of and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics around the world. The TRIPS waiver is also essential to ensure all global economies, including the US economy, can recover from the pandemic and thrive. Simply put, we must make vaccines, testing, and treatments available everywhere if we are going to crush the virus anywhere, the letter said. Among others, the letter has been signed by Congresswoman Karen Bass, Chair of House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health; Rosa DeLauro, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee; Eddie Bernice Johnson, Chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology; Pramila Jayapal, Chair of the Progressive Caucus; Brad Sherman, Co-Chair of House Caucus on Indian and Americans; Ro Khanna, Co-Vice Chair of the House Caucus on India and Indian Americans and Raja Krishnamoorthi.
Lawmakers said that the globalized economy cannot recover if only parts of the world are vaccinated. The TRIPS waiver will help everyone across the world. As such, they urged Biden to swiftly act to bring the pandemic to its quickest end and save the lives of Americans and people around the world and announce US support for the WTO TRIPS waiver. Two weeks ago, a group of 10 influential Senators wrote a similar letter to Biden urging him to support India and South Africa’s proposal at the WTO for a temporary TRIPS waiver during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Your administration has the opportunity to reverse the damage done by the Trump administration to our nation’s global reputation and restore America’s public health leadership on the world stage. To bring the pandemic to its quickest end and save the lives of Americans and people around the world, we ask that you prioritize people over pharmaceutical company profits by reversing the Trump position and announcing US support for the WTO TRIPS waiver,” the Senators wrote. In their letter, the 108 US Congressmen argued that the TRIPS waiver proposed by India and South Africa in October 2020 would temporarily lift certain intellectual property barriers and allow countries to locally manufacture COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines, thereby increasing timely global access.
“This country-by-country and product-by-product approach are unworkable given the speed and global scope of access necessary to combat a global pandemic. Additionally, the 2020 Special 301 Report makes it clear that the United States applies diplomatic power to discourage developing countries from using compulsory licenses.,” they said. “The temporary TRIPS waiver would allow countries and manufacturers to directly access and share technologies to produce vaccines and therapeutics without causing trade sanctions or international disputes,” they wrote.