Weekly Policy Blog: CBSA Continues Engagement on the WTO TRIPS Waiver
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 10/07/2022
In a few months, member states of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will decide whether to expand the TRIPS waiver to include COVID-19 therapeutics and diagnostics. Colorado BioScience Association is continuing to monitor and speak out against the Trade-Relations Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver, due to the harmful precedent set by waiving intellectual property (IP) protections for the life sciences sector.
Intellectual property is the foundation of our sector. IP protections are essential to the technology transfer process in life sciences that leads from lab invention to life-saving commercial products.
CBSA opposes the TRIPS waiver and any form of expansion to COVID-19 therapeutics or diagnostics. Expanding the waiver would be ineffective and counterproductive in accelerating the global response to the pandemic.
Details on the Current Situation:
During the World Trade Organization (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2022, WTO Member States agreed on a decision to waive certain intellectual property provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, altering aspects of existing rules regarding the ability to issue compulsory licenses on patents covering COVID-19 vaccines. Member States also agreed to decide by December 17, 2022, whether to extend this IP waiver to COVID-19 related therapeutics and diagnostics.
While the Biden administration backed the original vaccine waiver, currently, the administration has not announced a position on this expansion.
CBSA and Partner Engagement
CBSA, along with our partners at BIO and the Council of State Bioscience Associations (CSBA), will continue to express our opposition to the TRIPS waiver and possible expansion.
CBSA’s outreach has included:
- Educating the Colorado Congressional Delegation about the harmful effects of the TRIPS waiver
- Authoring a special opinion piece published in the Colorado Sun in 2021.
- Signed on to a declaration from Members of the World’s Biotechnology Sector On Global Access to COVID Vaccines & Treatments and the Role of Intellectual Property.
CBSA advocates for a supportive, pro-innovation business climate for life sciences. We support proposals to strengthen the ability of patent owners to defend their inventions and businesses against infringement.
CBSA national partner, BIO, will host a briefing on October 12 on the proposed expansion with experts including:
Tatjana Sachse, Counsel, Sidley Austin – Geneva
Brian Pomper, Partner, Akin Gump – Washington, DC.
This briefing will explore the current state of the proposed extension of the IP waiver to therapeutics and diagnostics and the potential implications to the global innovative biotech community at large. Please join and support advocacy on this important issue.
What: BIO Webinar: Proposal to Extend the WTO TRIPS IP Waiver to Therapeutics and Diagnostics Related to COVID-19
When: October 12, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. MT