COVID-19

South Centre Statement on the Amendment to the International Health Regulations (May 2024)

We congratulate the WHO members for the adoption of the  amendments to the International Health Regulations to advance equity in access to health products, increase collaboration and finance to develop, strengthen and maintain core capacities. Efforts must continue to finalise a pandemic treaty.

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Research Paper No. 197: Compulsory Licensing as a Remedy Against Excessive Pricing of Life-Saving Medicines (28 May 2024) 

By Behrang Kianzad

The COVID-19 crisis intensified decade-long debates on the interaction between intellectual property rights (IPRs), competition law and access to affordable life-saving treatments and vaccines. Compulsory licensing of patented medicines is a tried-and-tested method to expand access, particularly in a situation of “national emergency or other circumstances of extreme urgency” within the meaning of Article 31(b) of the TRIPS Agreement. Some legislations, such as European competition law, offer a toolbox for curbing the exercise of IPRs if they would be found in conflict with certain competition rules, such as rules prohibiting excessive pricing by dominant undertakings. The paper analyses the interface between intellectual property law and competition law in general, moving on to the settled case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on this matter. It provides a general overview of legal and economics arguments related to excessive pricing prohibition and the main case law of European competition law on the matter and discusses whether compulsory licensing as a remedy against excessive pricing of patented life-saving pharmaceutical products can be a viable and appropriate remedy. Finally, the paper offers policy recommendations relating to compulsory licensing based on excessive pricing.

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SouthViews No. 259: Where is the Binding International Treaty Negotiated at the WHO Against Future Pandemics Going? (15 March 2024)

By Germán Velásquez

The idea of an international pandemic treaty is to avoid repeating the failures that occurred during the COVID-19 crisis. Many things did not work, but the most glaring failure was the unequal distribution of, and access to, vaccines, diagnostics and treatments. An international treaty based on the principles of equity, inclusiveness and transparency is needed to ensure universal and equitable access.

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SouthViews No. 259: ¿Adónde va el tratado internacional vinculante negociado en la OMS contra futuras pandemias? (15 de Marzo de 2024)

Por Germán Velásquez

La idea de un tratado internacional sobre pandemias es evitar que se repitan los fracasos que se produjeron durante la crisis del COVID-19. Muchas cosas no funcionaron, pero el fracaso más flagrante fue la desigual distribución y acceso a las vacunas, diagnósticos y tratamientos. Se necesita un tratado internacional basado en los principios de equidad, inclusión y transparencia para garantizar un acceso universal y equitativo.

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SouthViews No. 259: Où va le traité international contraignant négocié à l’OMS pour lutter contre les futures pandémies ? (15 Mars 2024)

Par Germán Velásquez

L’idée d’un traité international sur les pandémies est d’éviter de répéter les échecs qui se sont produits lors de la crise du COVID-19. Beaucoup de choses n’ont pas fonctionné, mais l’échec le plus flagrant a été la distribution inégale des vaccins, des diagnostics et des traitements, ainsi que l’accès à ces derniers. Un traité international fondé sur les principes d’équité, d’inclusion et de transparence est nécessaire pour garantir un accès universel et équitable.

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South Centre News on AMR 60: UN Member States agree on modalities for the High-Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance on 26 September 2024 (5 March 2024)

By Viviana Munoz-Tellez

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly is to hold a meeting this year to accelerate global action to curb the spread of infections that are resistant to antimicrobial medicines. It is estimated that bacterial antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was directly responsible for 1.27 million global deaths in 2019 and contributed to 4.95 million deaths. The World Bank notes that addressing AMR can be highly cost-effective, offering a rate of return on investment of 88% per year.

A second UN High Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance (HLM on AMR) will be held on 26 September 2024 at the United Nations in New York. High Level Meetings aim to have participation of Heads of State and government, and Ministers to increase awareness and close with a political declaration with new commitments.

See South Centre News on AMR

 

Policy Brief 123: The WHO CA+ Discussions on Pathogen Access and Benefit Sharing: State of Play

14 December 2023

This brief explores the scope of a World Health Organization (WHO) pathogen access and benefit-sharing (PABS) mechanism as a possible outcome of the negotiations ongoing in the WHO Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) for a WHO Convention, Agreement or other Instrument (WHO CA+) for pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery (PPRR).

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South Centre News on AMR 59: South Centre supports Africa’s efforts to fight Antimicrobial Resistance

18 October 2023

From August 14th to 16th 2023, ReAct Africa and South Centre held the 6th African Regional Conference “Leave no one behind: Advancing One Health AMR National Action Plans Implementation in Africa” in Lusaka, Zambia.

See South Centre News on AMR

 

South Centre Statement to the High Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response

20 September 2023

The UN HLMs on health have helped drive the highest level of political commitment to key global health issues. The HLD on PPR today underplays the seriousness of the crisis the world experienced with the Covid-19 pandemic and fails to provide the level of political support and guidance to the critical negotiations taking place in Geneva for an international instrument and amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005).

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Research Paper No. 184: Promoting Jordan’s Use of Compulsory Licensing During the Pandemic

15 September 2023

This paper addresses the difficulties in utilizing Article 31 bis of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) on compulsory licensing for the export of pharmaceuticals during the pandemic through the case study of Jordan. This paper also recommends that Jordanian officials seek to capitalize on the pandemic whilst the Jordanian Defense Law and Orders are in effect to include Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as a direct ground for applying compulsory licensing, introduce clauses similar to those introduced by countries who have signed FTAs with the US, as well as deactivate harmful clauses within its national laws that prevent the application and utilization of a compulsory license.

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South Centre News on AMR 57: G20 Health Ministers Emphasise Action on Antimicrobial Resistance

22 August 2023

The Health Ministers of the Group of 20 (G20) met from 18th -19th August 2023 in Gandhinagar, India. The outcome document describes the major global health priorities and challenges.

Tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is recognised as a major global challenge. Antimicrobials are used against microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that cause infections.  Increasingly, these medications are becoming ineffective against resistant microorganisms, which makes infections harder to treat and increases the risk of disease spread, illness and death. Resistant infections are now a leading cause of death worldwide, causing up to 4.95 million deaths in 2019, with the highest burden in developing countries.  The World Bank has estimated that as many as 10 million deaths annually may occur by 2050. Worryingly, the global response to AMR is not matching the speed of AMR.

See South Centre News on AMR

 

SouthViews No.250: COVID-19, Future Pandemics and the Africa Care Economy Index

10 August 2023

In Africa, the care economy has long been unrecognised. At least since the last major pandemic in Africa, HIV-AIDS, caring work has been severely undervalued in the continent, and the redistribution of caring work, from females in the home and communities, is next to nonexistent. Undoing this structural inequality is crucial to improve health and wellbeing of girls and women in Africa, to be prepared for future pandemics, and to realise Africa’s demographic dividend for the benefit of the majority. To achieve this, the Africa Care Economy Index is offered as a policy, advocacy, and accountability tool.

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Policy Brief 121: Assessing the State of Play in the WHO Pandemic Instrument Negotiations

18 July 2023

This Policy Brief discusses the state of play of the negotiations of the pandemic instrument at the World Health Organization. The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) is increasing its meetings as the target deadline for completion in the first half of 2024 draws closer. To advance, the political will needs to be scaled up in the next months. The expectations should not be lowered to focus on the lowest common denominator. Real progress needs to be made in priority areas of concern for developing countries to keep momentum.

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South Centre Statement to the 64th WIPO General Assembly

10 July 2023

The South Centre, the intergovernmental organization of developing countries, actively promotes balancing public and private interests in the IP system. In accordance with the mandate of the 2007 Development Agenda (DA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which WIPO as a UN specialized agency must contribute to, development, sustainability and human rights should be at the core of WIPO’s activities. WIPO should remain a Member State-driven, development-oriented organization.

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MATRIX OF KEY ISSUES IN THE WTO TRIPS COUNCIL (June 2023)

Health, Intellectual Property and Biodiversity Programme, South Centre

The following matrix provides a factual overview and analysis of the standing and non-standing agenda items of the regular session of the WTO TRIPS Council. The matrix also discusses the TRIPS Implementation issues as part of the WTO Doha Development Round of negotiations.

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South Centre Statement to the Resumed session of the fifth meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response

12 June 2023

The South Centre appreciates the opportunity to address this INB. We remain available, here in Geneva or online, to present our views on specific draft provisions.

We recognise the work advanced so far.

In the Bureau text, not all options are yet on the table. All Member State proposals, existing and new ones as they come, should receive proportionate consideration, inclusion and discussion.

The consolidated text of February should remain complementary to the Bureau text.

There must be balance in providing options under various articles and in the approach for legal language under them. The Bureau text as it stands now would not deliver on equity.

The INB is moving towards consensus on principles of equity, solidarity, common but differentiated responsibilities, transparency and respect for human rights. We also support the proposal for a principle on global public goods. The INB needs now to better translate these principles into concrete legal provisions in the text.

The drafting group during this session of the INB could focus discussion on Articles 9 to 13 of the Bureau text, also drawing from the consolidated text.

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Opening Statement of the South Centre to the Seventy-Sixth World Health Assembly

22 May 2023

The South Centre, the intergovernmental organization of developing countries, appreciates the opportunity to address this World Health Assembly (WHA).

This Assembly will take many important decisions.

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Summary of the intervention by Carlos Correa, Executive Director of the South Centre, at the UN General Assembly – Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Multi-Stakeholder Hearing, New York, May 9th, 2023

The response to COVID-19 revealed serious shortcomings in the multilateral system. Despite solemn declarations, it was unable to ensure equity in addressing its health, economic and social impacts. See a summary of the South Centre’s intervention at the UN General Assembly – Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Multi-Stakeholder Hearing below.

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South Centre News on AMR 56: Increasing Awareness of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) by Supporting Community Actions

5 May 2023

The yearly global campaign World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is part of the global efforts to increase awareness and actions to tackle AMR. For 2022, WAAW took place from 18 to 24 November.  The WAAW 2022 theme was “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together”. One of the critical actors in mobilising local action to address AMR are civil society organisations (CSOs). The South Centre has been committed to supporting the efforts of CSOs based in developing countries. For WAAW 2022, the South Centre, with support from the Fleming Fund, offered small grants to fourteen CSOs to design and launch awareness and education campaigns on AMR.

See South Centre News on AMR

 

Submission by the South Centre to the USITC hearing on Covid-19 diagnostics and therapeutics (17 March 2023)

India, South Africa and co-sponsors made a proposal for a waiver to certain provisions of the provisions of the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in March 2020. In June 2022, the WTO Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement provided a partial waiver to obligations in Article 31, namely an exception to the 31.f export restrictions, in relation to patents for Covid-19 vaccines. No decision has yet been made with respect to diagnostics and therapeutics for Covid-19.

In this context, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) requested the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) to prepare a report on Covid-19 diagnostics and therapeutics.

Read below the submission by the South Centre to the USITC investigation: COVID-19 Diagnostics and Therapeutics: Supply, Demand, and TRIPS Agreement Flexibilities (Inv. No. 332-596).

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Opening Statement of the South Centre to the WHO INB4 (February 27, 2023)

The South Centre, the international organization and think tank of 55 developing countries, appreciates the opportunity to provide a statement.

We applaud the effort done so far, yet consider that the current Zero Draft is not ambitious enough.

The Zero Draft text should be read against the purported objectives of the international instrument…

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South Centre Statement on the extension of the TRIPS waiver for diagnostics and therapeutics for COVID-19 (9 January 2023)

Developing countries should consider options that can be implemented now to deal with IP barriers to expand production and access to COVID-19 therapeutics and diagnostics, while the so far elusive decision on whether to extend a TRIPS waiver to cover these products is taken by WTO.

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WHO, WIPO & WTO Trilateral Symposium 2022  South Centre Opening Statement (16 December 2022)

by Viviana Munoz Tellez

The world was unprepared prior to the Covid-19 crisis and remains so for new ones.  The Covid-19 response was faulty. Covid-19 recovery has been slow and painful, in particular for developing countries. Read the South Centre opening statement at the WHO, WIPO & WTO Trilateral Symposium 2022: Lessons from Covid-19.

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South Centre Statement – WHO proposed instrument on pandemics: the Conceptual Zero Draft needs substantial improvement to address global public health needs (9 December 2022)

We welcome the discussions in the WHO on a new instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. While we appreciate the preparation and sharing with WHO members of the Conceptual Zero Draft (hereinafter ‘the Draft’), we note that more work is needed to address the insufficiency of the tools at the disposal of the WHO that became evident with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Statement by the South Centre to the 2022 Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO (18 July 2022)

The South Centre is the intergovernmental organization of developing countries based in Geneva that supports developing countries’ efforts to build up a fair and inclusive multilateral system conducive to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are of the view that a central objective of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as part of the United Nations (UN) UN system should be to support the achievement of such goals through the promotion of a balanced international intellectual property (IP) system that reflects the interests of countries at different levels of economic and technological development, and in line with the WIPO Development Agenda.

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South Centre News on AMR 55: High-level discussion on new opportunities for global action to address the silent pandemic of AMR

13 July 2022

On June 21, 2022, the South Centre and the ReAct Network organized a webinar to analyze how a potential new international instrument on pandemic preparedness, prevention and response could offer opportunities for a more robust global response to the crisis of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). The webinar featured the participation of the Minister of Health of Zambia, H.E. Sylvia Masebo; the Minister of Health of Ghana, H.E. Kwaku Agyeman Manu; the Director of Technical Coordination, Ministry of Health Ghana, Dr. Martha Gyansa-Lutterodt; and the Director of Health Service Quality, Ministry of Health Indonesia, Dr. Kalsum Komaryani.

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South Centre Comments on the Draft Annotated Outline of a WHO Convention, Agreement or Other International Instrument on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (24 June 2022)

The South Centre welcomes the opportunity to provide comments on the draft annotated outline of a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. Comments are provided with respect to the process and the content.

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South Centre Statement: TRIPS WAIVER: AN INSUFFICIENT MULTILATERAL RESPONSE. TRIPS-CONSISTENT NATIONAL ACTIONS ARE CALLED FOR (21 June 2022)

After almost 20 months from the submission of a “TRIPS waiver” request by India and South Africa, co-sponsored by 65 WTO member States (and supported by more than 100 WTO Members), a “Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement” (WT/MIN(22)/W/15/Rev.2) (‘the Decision’) was belatedly adopted by the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization on 17 June 2022.

This Decision does recognize that, as argued by developing countries and a large number of organizations and academics, intellectual property (IP) poses obstacles for the expansion of manufacturing capacity and timely access to health products and technologies to respond to COVID-19. The response to the pandemic required a rapid increase in the supply of countermeasures, while technology holders refused to share their technologies.

Not only developed countries successfully deviated the negotiations towards an outcome different from what was pursued by developing countries’ diplomats; the process for its adoption did not allow for the full and informed participation of the latter. The process leading to the Decision confirms the need to fully use the TRIPS flexibilities to address emergency and other situations where public health and other public interests are at stake, and to review the current international IP regime (including article 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement) to accelerate the sharing of technology, including know-how.

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South Centre Statement to the WHA 75th Session, May 2022

General Statement

The South Centre highlights priorities for the 75th session of the World Health Assembly: Covid-19 response, sustainable financing for WHO, health emergency preparedness and response.

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STATEMENT BY CARLOS M. CORREA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SOUTH CENTRE, TO THE MEETING OF THE NAM HEALTH MINISTERS ON THE OCCASION OF THE 75TH WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY, MAY 20, 2022

The South Centre has closely followed issues concerning access to medicines and the work of the WHO over the years. In the last couple of years, it has provided analyses and advice in connection with the COVID-19 crisis that has so severely affected the members of NAM.

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South Centre Statement to the WHO Executive Board 150th Session (24 January 2022)

The South Centre, the intergovernmental organization of 54 developing countries from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, considers that key outcomes from the work of the 150th Executive Board should include…

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South Centre News on AMR 53: New Data on the Global Burden of Antimicrobial Resistance

20 January 2022

A new paper published today, “Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis” (GRAM) draws attention on the need for urgent action by the global community to tackle Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) by providing new estimates of global burden of AMR.

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South Centre Statement to the Special Session of the WHA (November 2021)

This WHA is convening in special session with the promise of starting a process that could ultimately lead to saving millions of lives. The most pressing priority is to get vaccines and other essential tools to the people that need them now, in all corners of the world. Redoubling efforts to help countries that are struggling the most to respond to the pandemic is an ethical imperative and would serve to contain the global spread of the virus and its new variants.

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Statement by the South Centre on the WTO Doha Ministerial Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health on its Twentieth Anniversary (November 2021)

Twenty years since its adoption on this day, the WTO Doha Declaration on TRIPS & Public Health has helped to advance TRIPS flexibilities in national laws, judgements, panel reports and FTAs. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed significant challenges to the full use of TRIPS flexibilities that should be addressed by WTO Members.

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Statement by the South Centre to the 2021 Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO (October 2021)

We are of the view that a central goal of WIPO as part of the UN system is to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. A balanced and flexible international intellectual property system, with adequate safeguards, can be supportive of the SDGs, as set by SDG 3b. Global supply and access to Covid-19 countermeasures can be accelerated with increased cooperation and removal of IP barriers. WIPO should support its Members to reach agreement on a temporary waiver of the TRIPS Agreement.

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Statement by the South Centre on the extension of the transition period for LDCs under the TRIPS Agreement (June 2021)

The TRIPS Council decision to extend the TRIPS transition period for LDCs until 1 June 2034 confirms their right to an extension but it regrettably does not meet the scope and duration that the LDCs requested. Read our statement …

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SOUTH CENTRE STATEMENT FOR NAM HEALTH MINISTERS MEETING AT THE 74TH WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY (May 2021)

A new pandemic treaty, if negotiated, should contribute to establish a stronger international health framework, suitable to countries with different levels of development, and equip WHO with the appropriate enforcement mechanisms and tools. Read the South Centre statement.

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South Centre General Statement to the Seventy-fourth World Health Assembly (May 2021)

Various interrelated processes, including a possible new pandemic treaty, are at play in addressing the current and future pandemics. Read the South Centre statement to the 74th World Health Assembly.

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Scope of Compulsory License and Government Use of Patented Medicines in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic (March 2021)

To meet public health needs, such as in the current COVID-19 emergency, governments can use compulsory licenses and government use as a tool for procurement and import of patented medicines.

These mechanisms are provided for in most laws worldwide. The WTO TRIPS Agreement, as reaffirmed by the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, recognises the right of WTO members to grant compulsory licenses and their freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licenses may be granted (read our Call for Action on Intellectual Property and Trade Measures to Address the Covid-19 Crisis here).

The South Centre offers a guide for the issuance of compulsory licenses and government use, see hereaquí en español.

The table below provides information of instances of their use.

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Scope of Compulsory License and Government Use of Patented Medicines in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic (February 2021)

To meet public health needs, such as in the current COVID-19 emergency, governments can use compulsory licenses and government use as a tool for procurement and import of patented medicines.

These mechanisms are provided for in most laws worldwide. The WTO TRIPS Agreement, as reaffirmed by the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, recognises the right of WTO members to grant compulsory licenses and their freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licenses may be granted (read our Call for Action on Intellectual Property and Trade Measures to Address the Covid-19 Crisis here).

The South Centre offers a guide for the issuance of compulsory licenses and government use, see hereaquí en español.

The table below provides information of instances of their use.

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South Centre Statement to the WHA 73 Session (November 2020)

Item 13

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that, despite the magnitude of the global health challenges it has to face, the WHO is currently unable to fully enforce its directives, norms and standards. It also shows that its funding is neither sustainable nor adequate to respond effectively to current and future global health crises. Overreliance on voluntary targeted funding puts at risk its capacity to operate as the global agency responsible for public health. These are some of the main challenges facing the WHO today.

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PROPOSAL BY INDIA AND SOUTH AFRICA TO WAIVE CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE WTO TRIPS AGREEMENT TO SUPPORT THE GLOBAL COVID-19 PANDEMIC RESPONSE (October 2020)

The prolongation of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic threatens developing countries disproportionately, deepening the catastrophic social and economic crisis and reversing the gains made to date to eradicate extreme poverty and meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this situation, ensuring timely access to essential commodities by overcoming acute shortages faced by countries due to high demand and disruptions in the supply chain is critical. There is also an urgent need to speed up development of new vaccines, treatments and diagnostics, at scale, and make these widely available.

As reaffirmed by many delegations in the special session of the WHO Executive Board, transfer of technology and know-how is fundamental for scaling up manufacturing of medical products and equipment. In this regard, India and South Africa have made a joint proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily waive certain provisions of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to support the global Covid-19 pandemic response.

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Compilation of Extracts from Selected Country Statements during 73rd World Health Assembly supporting Access to Health Products on COVID-19

The compilation below was done on the basis of published statements on the WHO website (https://apps.who.int/gb/statements/WHA73/) and the speeches delivered orally for those delegations which have not submitted their statements. This is a non-official document for information only.

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Message from the South Centre at the launch of the “Solidarity Call To Action” by the President of Costa Rica and the Director-General of the WHO

The architecture for access to medicines and vaccines, which is already complex to manage in normal times, requires even more structured actions in times of a pandemic by the scale of the demand and the urgency in meeting it. This call for solidarity to bring together the technologies and treatments related to COVID 19 is part of the necessary solution. It complements other available instruments for States to facilitate access to prevention and treatment for the population, including through the use of the flexibilities of the WTO TRIPS Agreement.

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South Centre Statement at the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA)

Today we are facing a global health, economic and social crisis, the most serious in the last hundred years. The resolution adopted by this World Health Assembly on COVID 19 should have been more ambitious given the dimension of the current crisis. The response to an exceptional challenge must be exceptional. The COVID 19 pandemic forces us to reflect on whether many health systems and the WHO itself were prepared to face this crisis.

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Message from the South Centre to the 73rd World Health Assembly

Mensaje del South Centre a la 73a. Asamblea Mundial de la Salud

 

Compulsory Licenses and Government Use of Patented Medicines: Precedents relevant to address COVID-19

To meet public health needs, such as in the current COVID-19 emergency, governments can use compulsory licenses and government use as a tool for procurement and import of patented medicines. These mechanisms are provided for in most laws worldwide. The WTO TRIPS Agreement, as reaffirmed by the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, recognises the right of WTO members to grant compulsory licenses and their freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licenses may be granted.

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Intellectual Property and Trade Measures to Address the Covid-19 Crisis by the South Centre

The South Centre views with concern the attempts by some governments and industry players to monopolize the availability of treatments, diagnostics, medicines, medical supplies and devices needed for their own nationalist agenda or to maximize profit, ahead of societal interest in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. The private enforcement of patents and government trade restrictions may pose a dire threat to the containment of this global public health emergency. Governments should act swiftly to put in place legislation and plans to ensure that patents and trade measures do not become barriers for access to those products.

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COVID-19 PANDEMIC: ACCESS TO PREVENTION AND TREATMENT IS A MATTER OF NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY

Open letter from Carlos Correa, Executive Director of the South Centre, to

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization

Francis Gurry, Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization

Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization

CC: António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General

CC: Verónica Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Dear Colleagues,

The unprecedented global health crisis caused by COVID-19 represents a global challenge to the essential security interests of all countries. As stated by the World Health Organization Constitution, “the health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security and is dependent upon the fullest co-operation of individuals and States.”

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Other Updates/Publications:

Book – El debate sobre la exención de los derechos de propiedad intelectual en tiempos de pandemia

Book – Vaccines, Medicines and COVID-19. How Can WHO Be Given a Stronger Voice?

Book – Access to Medicines and Vaccines: Implementing Flexibilities Under Intellectual Property Law

Book – Uso Público No Comercial y Licencias Obligatorias en América Latina: Estado de Situación

Book – Vacunas, medicamentos y patentes. COVID-19 y la necesidad de una organización internacional

Book – Vaccins, Médicaments et Brevets. La covid-19 et l’impératif d’une organisation internationale

Book – Modulos de Introduccion a la Propiedad Intelectual y Salud Pública

Book – Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Access To Medicines: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography (3rd Edition)

Research Paper No. 178, 22 May 2023: A Response to COVID-19 and Beyond: Expanding African Capacity in Vaccine Production

Research Paper No. 176, 29 March 2023: Where Does Global Health Funding Come From and Where Does It Go? 

Documento de Investigación No. 176, 29 de marzo de 2023: De dónde viene y a dónde va el financiamiento para la salud mundial

Documento de Investigación No. 175, 22 de marzo de 2023: Experiencias internacionales sobre la concesión de licencias obligatorias por razones de salud pública

Research Paper No. 174, 13 February 2023: Leading and Coordinating Global Health: Strengthening the World Health Organization

Research Paper No. 173, 7 February 2023: Analysis of COVID-Related Patents for Antibodies and Vaccines

Research Paper No. 170, 17 November 2022: Left on Our Own: COVID-19, TRIPS-Plus Free Trade Agreements, and the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health

Research Paper No. 169, 8 November 2022: The WTO TRIPS Decision on COVID-19 Vaccines: What is Needed to Implement it?

Research Paper No. 168, 28 October 2022: TRIPS Flexibilities and Access to Medicines: An Evaluation of Barriers to Employing Compulsory Licenses for Patented Pharmaceuticals at the WTO

Research Paper No. 166, 6 October 2022: Lessons From India’s Implementation of Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health

Research Paper No. 158, 15 June 2022: Twenty Years After Doha: An Analysis of the Use of the TRIPS Agreement’s Public Health Flexibilities in India

Research Paper No. 154, 9 May 2022: COVID-19 Vaccines as Global Public Goods: between life and profit

Research Paper 153, 26 April 2022: Patent Analysis for Medicines and Biotherapeutics in Trials to Treat COVID-19

Documento de investigación No. 147, 28 de febrero de 2022: ¿Podrán las negociaciones en la organización mundial de la salud resultar en un marco justo para la prevención, la preparación y la respuesta ante pandemias como bienes públicos globales?

Document de Recherche 147, 28 février 2022: Les négociations au sein de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé peuvent-elles aboutir à un cadre juste pour la prévention, la préparation et la riposte aux pandémies en tant que bien public mondial? 

Research Paper 147, 28 February 2022: Can Negotiations at the World Health Organization Lead to a Just Framework for the Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Pandemics as Global Public Goods?

Research Paper 144, 27 January 2022: A TRIPS-COVID Waiver and Overlapping Commitments to Protect Intellectual Property Rights Under International IP and Investment Agreements

Research Paper 143, 11 January 2022: Brazilian Competition Law and Access to Health in Brazil: Exploitative Pricing in the Pharmaceutical Sector

Research Paper 143, 11 de janeiro de 2022: Direito Brasileiro da Concorrência e Acesso à Saúde no Brasil: Preços Exploratórios no Setor de Medicamentos

Research Paper 141, November 2021: Utilising Public Health Flexibilities in the Era of COVID-19: An Analysis of Intellectual Property Regulation in the OAPI and MENA Regions

Document de Recherche 135, Novembre 2021: Mise en œuvre d’une dérogation ADPIC pour les technologies et produits de santé pour la COVID-19: prévenir les réclamations dans le cadre des accords de libre-échange et d’investissement  

Documento de investigación 135, Noviembre 2021: Implementación de una exención de los ADPIC relacionados con tecnologías y productos sanitarios para la COVID-19: Evitar reclamaciones en virtud de acuerdos de libre comercio e inversión 

Research Paper 136, September 2021: Canada’s Political Choices Restrain Vaccine Equity: The Bolivia-Biolyse Case 

Research Paper 135, September 2021: Implementation of a TRIPS Waiver for Health Technologies and Products for COVID-19: Preventing Claims Under Free Trade and Investment Agreements

Research Paper 134, September 2021: Restructuring the Global Vaccine Industry

Research Paper 132, June 2021: Interpreting the Flexibilities Under the TRIPS Agreement

Research Paper 129, March 2021: The TRIPS waiver proposal: an urgent measure to expand access to the COVID-19 vaccines 

Research Paper 124, November 2020: Practical Implications of ‘Vaccine Nationalism’: A Short-Sighted and Risky Approach in Response to COVID-19 

Document de Recherche 121, Janvier 2021: Les réformes de l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé a l’époque de COVID-19 

Documento de investigación 121, Noviembre 2020: Las reformas de la Organización Mundial de la Salud en la época de COVID-19 

Research Paper 121, November 2020: The World Health Organization Reforms in the Time of COVID-19

Research Paper 120, October 2020: Patent Analysis for Medicines and Biotherapeutics in Trials to Treat COVID-19 

Documento de investigación 118, Junio 2021: Repensando la fabricación mundial y local de productos médicos tras el COVID-19  

Document de Recherche 118, Janvier 2021: Reconsidérations sur la fabrication mondiale et locale de produits médicaux après le COVID-19

Research Paper 118, September 2020: Re-thinking Global and Local Manufacturing of Medical Products After COVID-19

Research Paper 116, August 2020: The TRIPS Agreement Article 73 Security Exceptions and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Research Paper 114, June 2020: Equitable Access to COVID-19 Related Health Technologies: A Global Priority

Documento de investigación 107, Diciembre 2020: Guía para la concesión de licencias obligatorias y uso gubernamental de patentes farmacéuticas  

Research Paper 107, April 2020: Guide for the Granting of Compulsory Licenses and Government Use of Pharmaceutical Patents

Informe sobre políticas No. 108, 25 de marzo de 2022: La incorporación de la equidad en el Reglamento Sanitario Internacional y en futuros instrumentos jurídicos de la OMS sobre preparación y respuesta frente a pandemias

Rapport sur les politiques No. 108, 25 mars 2022: L’intégration de l’équité dans le Règlement sanitaire international et les futurs instruments juridiques de l’OMS sur la préparation et la riposte aux pandémies

Policy Brief 110, 5 May 2022: Analysis of the Outcome Text of the Informal Quadrilateral Discussions on the TRIPS COVID-19 Waiver

Policy Brief 108, 25 March 2022: Mainstreaming Equity in the International Health Regulations and Future WHO Legal Instruments on Pandemic Preparedness and Response

Investment Policy Brief 24, 9 December 2021: Potential Claims related to IP and Public Health in Investment Agreements: COVID-19, the Proposed TRIPS Waiver and Beyond

Policy Brief 107, November 2021: The Doha Ministerial Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health on its Twentieth Anniversary

Policy Brief 106, November 2021: Strengthening WHO for Future Health Emergencies while Battling COVID-19: Major Outcomes of the 2021 World Health Assembly

Policy Brief 104, October 2021: Compulsory licensing vs. the IP waiver: what is the best way to end the COVID-19 pandemic?

Policy Brief 102, September 2021: Accelerating COVID-19 Vaccine Production via Involuntary Technology Transfer

Policy Brief 100, August 2021: EU Proposals regarding Article 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Policy Brief 99, August 2021: The TRIPS COVID-19 Waiver, Challenges for Africa and Decolonizing Intellectual Property 

Policy Brief 97, July 2021: The WTO TRIPS Waiver Should Help Build Vaccine Manufacturing Capacity in Africa 

Informe sobre políticas no 96, Julio 2021: Precios justos para la cobertura sanitaria universal: El impacto de la judicialización de la salud

Policy Brief 94, Setembro de 2021: O papel dos tribunais na implementação das flexibilidades do TRIPS: Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF) do Brasil declara inconstitucionais as extensões automáticas de prazos de patentes

Policy Brief 94, June 2021: The Role of Courts in Implementing TRIPS Flexibilities: Brazilian Supreme Court Rules Automatic Patent Term Extensions Unconstitutional

Informe sobre políticas no 93, Julio 2021: Un nuevo tratado internacional de preparación y respuesta ante pandemias: ¿Podrá atender a las necesidades del Sur Global?

Rapport sur les politiques no. 93, Juillet 2021: Un nouveau traité international de l’OMS sur la préparation et la riposte aux pandémies : pourra-t-il répondre aux besoins des pays du Sud ?

Policy Brief 93, May 2021: A New WHO International Treaty on Pandemic Preparedness and Response: Can It Address the Needs of the Global South?

Policy Brief 92, April 2021: Expanding the production of COVID-19 vaccines to reach developing countries. Lift the barriers to fight the pandemic in the Global South

Policy Brief 88, March 2021: Need for Extension of the LDC Transition Period Under Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement Until Graduation and Beyond 

Policy Brief 81, July 2020: The UN General Assembly Resolutions on COVID-19: Solemn Assurances for Access to Health Technologies without an Action Plan

Policy Brief 80, June 2020: Intellectual Property, Innovation and Access to Health Products for COVID-19: A Review of Measures Taken by Different Countries

Policy Brief 78, May 2020: The 73rd World Health Assembly and Resolution on COVID-19: Quest of Global Solidarity for Equitable Access to Health Products

Rapport sur les politiques 75, Janvier 2021: Repenser la R&D pour les produits pharmaceutiques après le choc du nouveau coronavirus COVID-19

Informe Sobre Políticas 75, Mayo 2020: Repensando la I+D para productos farmacéuticos después del choque de la Coronavirus COVID-19

Policy Brief 75, April 2020: Rethinking R&D for Pharmaceutical Products After the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Shock

Informe Sobre Políticas 73, Mayo 2020: La pandemia de COVID-19: el fomento de la I+D y la gestión de la propiedad intelectual para acceder a diagnósticos, medicamentos y vacunas

Rapport sur les politiques 73, Mai 2020: La pandémie de COVID-19 : R&D et gestion de la propriété intellectuelle pour l’accès aux tests diagnostiques, aux médicaments et aux vaccins

Policy Brief 73, April 2020: The COVID-19 Pandemic: R&D and Intellectual Property Management for Access to Diagnostics, Medicines and Vaccines

SouthViews No. 238, 20 June 2022: Doha Twenty Years On – Has The Promise Been Betrayed?

SouthViews No. 235, 10 March 2022:  The WTO TRIPS Waiver and Essential Security Rights in 2022

SouthViews No. 231, 29 November 2021: Waive IP Rights & Save Lives

SouthViews No. 225, 21 July 2021: Vaccine Nationalism 

SouthViews 224, 19 July 2021: Vaccination inequalities and the role of the multilateral system

SouthViews 218, 19 May 2021: The Proposed Pandemic Treaty and the Challenge of the South for a Robust Diplomacy

SouthViews 216, 4 May 2021: An Introduction to the UN Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries 

SouthViews 213, 23 February 2021: Access to Medical Equipment in a Pandemic Situation: Importance of Localized Supply Chains and 3D Printing

SouthViews 208, 19 October 2020: Access to medical supplies and devices — the lesser known story of COVID-19 and medical monopoly 

SouthViews 207, 28 September 2020: Is the right to exclusivity a Hamlet question?

SouthViews No. 203, 24 July 2020: Coronavirus pandemic: the vaccine as exit strategy – A GLOBAL HURDLE RACE AGAINST TIME WITH A SPLIT JURY

SouthViews No. 202, 17 July 2020: Lessons from COVID-19: Pharmaceutical Production as a Strategic Goal

SouthViews No. 200, 16 June 2020: Making Covid-19 Medical Products Affordable: Voluntary Patent Pool and TRIPS Flexibilities

SouthViews 195, 14 May 2020: COVID-19: An Opportunity to Fix Dysfunctional Biomedical R&D System

South Centre Holds National Workshop on Intellectual Property and Public Health for Policy Makers from Pakistan (SouthNews No. 452, 10 July 2023)

Reunión Regional de Alto Nivel sobre Políticas de Propiedad Intelectual para Favorecer el Logro de los Objetivos de Salud Pública (Cartagena, dic. 5-6) organizado en cooperación con el Ministerio de Salud y Protección Social de Colombia (SouthNews No. 440, 31 de enero de 2023)

Potential reforms and interpretations of the TRIPS Agreement to promote access to health technologies discussed at a webinar organized by the South Centre (SouthNews No. 437, 24 January 2023)

Second Global Forum on Intellectual Property, Access to Medicines and Innovation Report (SouthNews No. 435, 20 January 2023)

South Centre promotes discussion on local production for vaccines and therapeutics in developing countries (SouthNews No. 423, 14 October 2022)

Human Rights Council adopts Resolution calling for global, equitable access to medicines, vaccines and other medical technologies (SouthNews No. 418, 2 August 2022)

South Centre organized Exchange Among Asian Patent Authorities and Examiners on Patent Policies and Public Health (SouthNews No. 416, 20 July 2022)

South Centre seminars for African Judges on IP and Public Health note the pivotal importance of TRIPS Flexibilities (SouthNews No. 413, 24 June 2022)

South Centre Course on Intellectual Property, Competition and Public Health with the Court of Appeals for Specialized Cases – Thailand, 18-20 May 2022 (SouthNews No. 408, 8 June 2022)

South Centre organizes a course for Colombian Judges on intellectual property and public health (SouthNews No. 404, 8 April 2022)

South Centre and ORAS CONHU conduct training in December 2021 and January 2021 for Patent Offices and Ministries of Health on the implementation of TRIPS Flexibilities for Public Health /El South Centre y ORAS CONHU realizan una capacitación en diciembre de 2021 y enero de 2021 para Oficinas de Patentes y Ministerios de Salud sobre la implementación de las flexibilidades del ADPIC para la Salud Pública (SouthNews No. 397, 1 February 2022)

South Centre and IDEC organize debate on local manufacturing and equitable access to vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 (SouthNews No. 394, 20 January 2022)

South Centre promueve discusión sobre la propiedad intelectual y el interés público en Colombia y la región: el contexto del Covid-19, uso de las flexibilidades del Acuerdo ADPIC y la protección de conocimiento tradicional (SouthNews No. 393, 23 December 2021)

Are the US, EU and China shifting positions on IP and Public Health? South Centre webinar discussed their recent trends as the second webinar of the Emerging Trends in FTAs and Public Health series (SouthNews No. 387, 3 November 2021)

South Centre working session at the WTO Public Forum 2021 discussed the future of the TRIPS Agreement post COVID-19 (SouthNews No. 385, 19 October 2021)

South Centre and Thammasat University held successful online regional course on intellectual property and public health for judges from 13 Asian countries (SouthNews No. 381, 8 October 2021)

Ensuring a Sustainable and Resilient Response to COVID-19 and Emerging Infectious Diseases through Local Production (SouthNews No. 378, 16 July 2021)

Amplio respaldo por la extensión del período de transición que exime a los países menos desarrollados (LDC) de implementar el Acuerdo TRIPS; no obstante, se está demorando el consenso en la OMC (SouthNews No. 372, 5 de junio de 2021)

Large soutien à la prorogation de la période de transition exemptant les pays les moins avancés (PMA) de la mise en œuvre de l’Accord sur les ADPIC – mais le consensus demeure en retard à l’OMC (SouthNews No. 371, 5 juin 2021)

Un aperçu du nombre croissant des mesures et initiatives juridiques au niveau national et à l’OMC pour garantir l’accès aux vaccins contre la Covid-19 (SouthNews No. 370, 3 juin 2021)

Una descripción general de las crecientes medidas legales e iniciativas a nivel nacional y en la OMC para garantizar el acceso a vacunas contra la Covid-19 (SouthNews No. 369, 3 de junio de 2021)

An overview of the growing legal measures and initiatives at national level and at the WTO to ensure access to Covid-19 vaccines (SouthNews No. 367, 22 May 2021)

Broad support for the extension of the transition period exempting LDCs from implementing the TRIPS Agreement – but consensus lagging at WTO (SouthNews No. 366, 20 May 2021)

South Centre series on manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 kicks off with Brazil’s Butantan Institute’s experience with Sinovac (SouthNews No. 363, 1 April 2021)

UNGA Resolution on Global health and foreign policy: strengthening health system resilience through affordable health care for all, adopted 14 December (SouthNews No. 358, 21 December 2020)

WTO TRIPS Council discusses major proposals from developing and least developed countries for waiving certain TRIPS obligations and extension of transition period for LDCs (SouthNews No. 347, 23 October 2020)

WHO´s Executive Board assesses current COVID-19 response and requests to be more involved in the review processes (SouthNews No. 346, 20 October 2020)

The 74th UN General Assembly Adopts New Resolutions on COVID-19 Response (SouthNews No. 344, 9 October 2020)

High-Level Representatives from Governments, IGOs and NGOs reflect on the role for WHO’s C-TAP to ensure access to COVID-19 health technologies (SouthNews No. 343, 8 October 2020)

Action at the WTO is needed to accelerate research, development, manufacturing and supply of medical products to combat Covid-19: Proposal from India and South Africa (SouthNews No. 341, 5 October 2020)

South Centre co-organizes discussions on Covid-19 Vaccines in Brazil (SouthNews No. 337, 18 September 2020)

Innovación y propiedad intelectual en escenarios pospandemia (SouthNews No. 331, 20 August 2020)

EU Parliament adopts resolution on public health strategy post-COVID-19 based on use of TRIPS flexibilities to ensure access to health technologies (SouthNews No. 329, 12 August 2020)

WTO TRIPS Council discusses national IP measures and TRIPS flexibilities in the context of COVID-19 (SouthNews No. 327, 7 August 2020)

Communiqué from Africa’s Leadership in COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Virtual Conference (SouthNews No. 324, 2 July 2020)

Costa Rica and Chile announced an open, collaborative platform to combat COVID-19 (SouthNews No. 322, 19 May 2020)

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Intellectual Property Management for Access to Diagnostics, Medicines and Vaccines (SouthNews No. 319, 8 May 2020)

South Centre Working Paper – A New Treaty on Pandemics: Some Key Issues from a Global South Perspective

South Centre Working Paper – Intellectual Property Rights and the use of Compulsory Licenses: Options for Developing Countries

The Future of the TRIPS Agreement (Part 2), 11 October 2022 (Webinar)

WTO 12th Ministerial Conference Decision on the TRIPS Agreement: What is next?, 5 July 2022 (Webinar)

The Impact of a TRIPS COVID Waiver on Trade and Investment Agreements, PIJIP event, 4 February 2022 

Webinar on Local Production and Access to Medicines and Treatments for Covid-19, 14 December 2021

The Future of the TRIPS Agreement Post COVID-19, 29 September 2021 (WTO Public Forum Working Session) 

Ensuring a Sustainable and Resilient Response to COVID-19 and Emerging Infectious Diseases through Local Production, 6 July 2021 (United Nations High-Level Political Forum 2021 Virtual Side Event)

TRIPS Waiver Webinar Series, 5,12,19, 26 June 2021

Ciclo de conferencias: La tensión entre la salud pública y las patentes en la era del Covid-19. Apertura del ciclo, 13 May 2021  (Webinar)

South Centre Series on Manufacturing Capacity for Covid-19 Vaccines: The Experience of Butantan-Sinovac, 23 March 2021 (Webinar)

Not Charity, But Rights: Universal and Equitable Access to Covid-19 Vaccines, 17 March 2021 (Webinar)

Guaranteeing Access to Medicines: Reforming Trade and Investment Treaties in the COVID-19 Era, 11 December 2020 (Webinar)

Access to Covid-19 Vaccines, Medicines and Diagnostics: Voluntary and Compulsory Licenses, TRIPS Waiver, 7 December 2020 (Webinar)

Meeting on Waiver to Certain Provisions of the WTO TRIPS Agreement to Support Effective COVID-19 Response, 9 November 2020 (Webinar)

Intellectual Property & Competition Law in the Context of Covid-19, 15 September 2020 (Webinar)

Vacinas para Covid-19: Acesso, Regulação e Concorrência, 5 August 2020 (Webinar)

Vacinas para Covid-19: Análise e soluções à luz do Direito da Propriedade Intelectual, 7 July 2020 (Webinar)

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Intellectual Property Management for Access to Diagnostics, Medicines and Vaccines, 30 April 2020 (Webinar)