Intellectual property rights held by international pharmaceutical companies on COVID-19 vaccines may be relaxed for up to five years, according to a proposal by the European Union (EU) in the context of a two-year-old World Trade Organization dispute involving India, the United States, South Africa, and the EU.
India, along with South Africa, was one of the early proponents of the 2020 waiver. This respite, however, will not apply to COVID-19 medications and diagnostic equipment, despite the EU’s proposal for a “conversation” on this in the next six months. A discussion on the document is planned in the next two weeks, according to a person familiar with the procedures. A discussion on the wording is planned in the next two weeks, according to a source familiar with the process who declined to be identified.