▷ Exception Rule Urgent Required to Combat Dangerous New Variants: …


29.11.2021 – 16:02

International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) & Public Services Internationa

GENEVA AND LONDON, April 23 / PRNewswire /

The Council of Global Unions (CGU), which represents over 200 million employees, has called on Great Britain, Switzerland, Germany and the EU Commission not to block efforts to obtain an exemption for vaccine patents any longer. The largest council of global unions believes that action must and can be taken this week to enable vaccine production in the global south immediately.

the Demand from the trade unions after a waiver of World Trade Organization (WTO) intellectual property rights for Covid vaccines comes at a time when we are receiving the new variant of Omicron from countries that have been denied the right to manufacture their own vaccines. The demands of the unions also support the new dynamism and urgency on the part of world leaders. President Biden and the European Parliament – the only EU institution elected by the citizens – had reiterated their calls for the abandonment of intellectual property rights for vaccines.

The ministerial conference scheduled for this week in Geneva has been postponed due to the risks posed by Omicron. Governments wanted to decide whether to add an exemption to the trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) – the world’s most comprehensive multilateral intellectual property agreement – for Covid vaccines and supplies is finally approved.

In order to obtain such an exemption, the TRIPS Council can be convened at any time to General Council of the WTO to submit a written proposal, which will then be formalized. Such a derogation was first proposed by South Africa and India in October 2020 and is now supported by over 100 countries. Still, this proposal is still blocked by a handful of wealthy countries, including the UK, Switzerland and Germany, where large pharmaceutical companies are headquartered.

Despite the postponement of the ministerial conference, governments could take immediate action later this week to approve the exemption. The Director General of the WTO, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, stressed that the negotiations must continue and that delegates “should be fully qualified to fill as many gaps as possible” because “this new variant reminds us once more of the urgency of the work we are entrusted with are.”

The unions believe that if the UK, Switzerland and Germany give up their opposition to the TRIPS exemption, patent revocation, undisclosed information protection and technology transfer, we can vaccinate the world. The CGU cites a study by Oxford University that shows one way the world community can set up regional centers. These would be able to produce eight billion doses of vaccine by May 2022 to end the pandemic.

Stephen Cotton, Chairman of the CGU and Secretary General of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), explains: “I am addressing the heads of state directly Great Britain, Germany and Switzerland, when I say the following: Your decisions endanger the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. The world looks at you as panic and fear spread over the emergence of a new variant that perhaps could have been prevented had you acted sooner. The exemption can be agreed this week, you must act now or you will forever face the avoidable death of millions more people. “

Since the exemption was first proposed, more than 4 million people have died of Covid-19. The Biden administration, which distributed more doses than any other government combined, made it clear in a statement last week that the TRIPS exemption was an urgent and essential next step to end the pandemic.

Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary of the International Public Services Union (PSI) added: “A handful of political leaders put the interests of the pharmaceutical lobby above those of the frontline workers. This is an affront to the sacrifices they have made. When the leaders Great Britain, Switzerland and the EU countries want to break the cycle of closures and travel blockades, then they must immediately end the blockade of the proposal for a TRIPS exemption so that there are no more obstacles in the way of expanding vaccine production and combating new variants. “

The International Monetary Fund recently warned that inadequate access to vaccines could result in a loss of $ 5.3 trillion in global GDP over the next five years. Meanwhile, drug companies are making over $ 1,000,000 in profits every 15 minutes.

The full Find an explanation of the CGU.

Original content from: International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) & Public Services Internationa, transmitted by news aktuell


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