Push for patent-free vaccines

WE, the 21 undersigned organisations and patient advocacy groups, strongly welcome Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s keynote address at the virtual Nikkei 26th International Conference on the Future of Asia on May 20.

We applaud him for this transforrmative call:

“To prepare for a long century of recurring health emergencies, the temporary IP [intellectual property] suspension must give way to a total transformation of the pharmaceutical patent system. Pausing the gears is not enough. Our obligation is to dismantle it entirely. And Asia must lead the way in opening up patent protections to produce cheaper generic versions of life- saving medicines for critical diseases, from Covid-19 to HIV/Aids.”

As a first step, we call on the Prime Minister to formally inform the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that Malaysia will join 62 other countries as a co-sponsor to the temporary waiver of the TRIPS Agreement that will apply to patents, trade secrets and other relevant intellectual property covering vaccines, treatment medicines, diagnostics, and other medical products needed for Covid-19.

(A proposal by India and South Africa, now supported by 60 other countries, calls on the WTO to exempt member countries from enforcing some patents and other intellectual property rights under the organisation’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intel-lectual Property Rights – ie, TRIPS – for a limited period. This is to ensure that intellectual property rights do not restrict the rapid scaling up of manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines.)

While global and national attention has been focused on vaccines, there is also an urgent need for medicines to treat Covid-19 as cases continue to increase, so a comprehensive waiver is needed.Agora Society Malaysia, Citizens’ Health Initiative, Consumer Association of Penang (CAP), Health Equity Initiatives, Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC), Malaysian Women’s Action on Tobacco Control and Health (MyWatch), Majlis Perundingan Pertumbuhan Islam Malaysia, Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi

Melayu (MTEM), Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN), Parti Socialis Malaysia, Persatuan Kebajikan Sokongan Keluarga Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur (Family Frontiers), Persatuan Pergerakan

Pengguna Malaysia,

Pertubuhan Pembangunan dan Penyelidikan Antarabangsa untuk Kelestarian (Idris), Pertubuhan Ikatan Intelegensia Membangun Malaysia, Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (Mtaag+), Prostate Cancer Society Malaysia, PT Foundation, Sahabat Alam Malaysia, Teras Pengupayaan Melayu, Third World Network, Together Against Cancer Association Malaysia (TAC)

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