WTO Chief: Pharma Needs To 'Lift The Veil Of Opaqueness' In COVID-19 Vaccine Contracts
WTO director general says pharma could have done more on voluntary licensing for COVID-19 vaccines and also calls for better transparency of pricing and contracts to ensure “a level playing field” when it comes to saving lives.
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Afrigen’s MD, Petro Terblanche, discusses the operational freedom that the WTO intellectual property waiver provides for its COVID-19 vaccine being developed under the wider WHO-backed mRNA technology transfer hub initiative. The executive doesn’t anticipate big pharma pushback but says the alliance will “test the system”, though others believe the waiver in its current form doesn’t count for much.
Merck and Lilly tackle some early challenges before striking voluntary licensing deals for COVID-19 therapies with Indian firms. Data around the use of these drugs in low- and middle-income countries could also potentially make them ‘more acceptable’ elsewhere, experts say.
Pugatch Consilium managing director, Meir Perez Pugatch, says that IP has been the “bridge” in the various biopharma R&D collaborations that have helped deliver unprecedented results during the pandemic. He also weighs in on the divisive proposal of waiver of intellectual property rights for vaccines, treatments and diagnostics relating to COVID-19.