World Trade Organization members who met today for a council on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights have just agreed that they will engage in a text-based process on waiving intellectual property rules on COVID vaccines, test, and treatments. This means a deal, which would see a temporary suspension of intellectual property, is increasingly likely. However key governments, like the UK and Germany, are continuing to block.

In response, Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s Health Policy Manager, made the following statement:

“This move to text-based negotiations is good news, because it means all member states acknowledge that pharmaceutical monopolies are blocking access to life saving vaccines for millions of people and that this needs to be addressed. 

“However, it is shameful that in the midst of a pandemic it has taken eight long painful months and 2.7 million deaths from COVID-19 for a handful of rich country government blockers to finally agree to enter formal text-based negotiations on this life saving proposal.

“Despite rising infections and the lack of vaccine stock in Africa and other regions of the world, the UK and Germany continue to be major blockers of the waiver. On the eve of the G7 summit, the UK and Germany must urgently reconsider their opposition to the waiver and let the world know they support people over profit hungry pharmaceutical corporations.”