Ottawa, May 6, 2021—The extraordinary development of the COVID-19 vaccines now being deployed globally is a testament to collaboration and innovation by governments, industry, and other stakeholders.
Waiving TRIPS Intellectual Property (IP) protections will not address the real issues of trade barriers, global supply chain bottlenecks, and scarcity of raw materials that are impacting the supply of COVID-19 vaccines. IP protection is a crucial element for a thriving life sciences sector and therefore we urge Canada and other nations to ensure that any negotiated agreement effectively addresses the problem of global vaccine access and does not undermine vaccine production or negatively impact public health.
Ongoing collaboration between the innovative pharmaceutical sector and the Government of Canada is needed to ensure the health and safety of all Canadians and citizens globally. Canadian officials should be commended for their work at the World Trade Organization (WTO) such as the Ottawa Group Trade and Health Initiative to assess measures to strengthen and facilitate the flow of essential medicines and medical supplies between nations. Such measures are targeted at the substantive issues impacting global supply chains during the pandemic.
Since it will not address the real issues afflicting vaccine supply and distribution, Innovative Medicines Canada does not support the proposed TRIPS IP waiver for COVID-19 vaccines at the WTO. The proposed waiver of TRIPS IP protections would be a disappointing step that will create greater uncertainty and unpredictability in the production, quality, and availability of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
About Innovative Medicines Canada
Innovative Medicines Canada is the national association representing the voice of Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical industry. The association advocates for policies that enable the discovery, development, and delivery of innovative medicines and vaccines to improve the lives of all Canadians and supports the members’ commitment to being a valued partner in the Canadian healthcare system. The association represents 47 companies who invest nearly $1.2-billion in R&D annually, fueling Canada’s knowledge-based economy, while contributing $8-billion to Canada’s economy. Guided by the Code of Ethical Practices, all members work with governments, private payers, healthcare professionals, and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.
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