(Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday threw his support behind waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, bowing to mounting pressure from Democratic lawmakers and more than 100 other countries, but angering pharmaceutical companies.
Following are comments on the latest developments.
GAVI, THE VACCINE ALLIANCE
"We recognise also the significance of the (Biden) Administration’s commitment to work towards increasing raw material production which will have an immediate impact on alleviating current global supply constraints."
"Gavi urges now that in the interests of global equitable access the US supports manufacturers to transfer not only IP but also know-how in a bid to urgently boost global production."
THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF PHARMACEUTICAL MANUFACTURERS & ASSOCIATIONS (IFPMA)
"Waiving patents of COVID-19 vaccines will not increase production nor provide practical solutions needed to battle this global health crisis. On the contrary, it is likely to lead to disruption."
"The only way to ensure quick scaling up of and equitable vaccine access to all those in need remains pragmatic and constructive dialogue with the private sector."
EBRAHIM PATEL, SOUTH AFRICA TRADE MINISTER
"This can help to save lives! We need all hands on deck to fight virus. We look forward to the EU joining the growing global consensus."
DAN TEHAN, AUSTRALIA'S MINISTER FOR TRADE
"We welcome this positive development and look forward to working with the US and others to find solutions that boost the global rollout of Covid-19 vaccines."
"Close collaboration between governments and vaccine manufacturers will remain vital."
DAMIEN O'CONNOR, NEW ZEALAND TRADE MINISTER
"New Zealand supports the waiver of IP protections on vaccines as an important part of our collective efforts to address the human catastrophe of the pandemic."
"We are also working in APEC, the WTO and other fora to address other elements of vaccine supply issues including through the supply chains that are limiting the availability of vaccines regionally and globally.
"This includes our collective and urgent need to address tariff barriers, regulatory restrictions, export restrictions and enable trade facilitation measures that could facilitate and swift access to vaccines and their effective distribution."
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS
"It is crucial that the waiver not just apply to preventative vaccines, but it should also cover other medical tools for COVID-19, including treatments for people who fall ill and diagnostics to help curb the spread, as originally proposed seven months ago."
"While this decision means other manufacturers will have the information they need from pharmaceutical corporations—and the legal permission—to help scale up global supply and get more shots into the arms of people everywhere, this won't happen immediately."
"For the remaining countries that continue to oppose the WTO waiver... they must drop their objections and put people’s health before pharmaceutical profits, and waive IP on all COVID-19 medical tools, including vaccines."
(Reporting by Reuters staff. Editing by Gerry Doyle)