A conference is underway in Switzerland that could decide access to life-saving Covid-19 medicines and diagnostics for millions across the world.
The 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization is being held in Geneva from June 12-16 and negotiations are likely to be held on waiving intellectual property, or IP, rights on Covid-19 medical tools.
A waiver on intellectual property rights would open up the manufacturing and production processes of critical vaccines, medicines and diagnostic tools to underdeveloped and developing countries.
Patents, industrial designs, copyright and protection of information will, thus, not be a hindrance in accessing affordable healthcare.
The discussion on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, or TRIPS, waiver for Covid-19 medical tools, comes nearly 20 months after India and South Africa first pushed for such an IP waiver.
As countries try to reach a consensus over the final text, Candice Sehoma, South Africa Advocacy Officer at Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign, who works on the advocacy of public health policies and specialises in intellectual property, medical innovation and human rights, discusses why a waiver on intellectual property rights is being resisted by a few countries.
She also talks about the concerns several nations and advocacy groups have with the…