The members of the European Parliament have backed a joint proposal by India and South Africa for waiver on intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccine patents. In the letter addressed to the European Union (EU) leadership dated February 3, seen by news agency ANI, 14 MPs of the European Parliament have called for a moratorium on the suspension of COVID-19 vaccine patents. The letter was addressed to President of the European Council, Charles Michel, President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, High Representative, Josep Borrel, European Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis and European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides.
The letter was sent by European Parliament members including Andrea Cozzolino, Maria Arena, Eva Kaili, Alex Agius Saliba, Boguslaw Liberadzki, Tiemo Woelken, Milan Brglez, Patrizia Toia, Irene Tinagli, Pierfrancesco Majorino, Pina Picierno, Giuliano Pisapia, Massimiliano Smeriglio, Franco Roberti.
The MEPs' said, "South Africa and India sent a joint proposal to the World Trade Organization requesting an exemption from patents and other intellectual property rights concerning drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, personal protective equipment, and other medical technologies throughout the pandemic and this proposal is still pending."
They added: "We ask the European Union to evaluate to support the adoption of a moratorium that allows the suspension of patents and the sharing of technology, data, know-how, allowing generics manufacturers to contribute to increasing global availability, including through support for India and South Africa's proposal at the WTO."
In October 2020, India and South Africa in a joint statement had submitted a communication at The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) that was reportedly titled 'Waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS agreement for the prevention, containment, and treatment of COVID-19'. The nations jointly requested a waiver to be granted to WTO members so that they do not have to implement, apply or enforce certain obligations related to the COVID-19 products and technologies.
"Internationally, there is an urgent call for global solidarity, and the unhindered global sharing of technology and know-how in order that rapid responses for the handling of COVID-19 can be put in place on a real-time basis," the joint communication from India and South Africa read to the TRIPS at the WTO.