May 6, 2021
Government and EU need to support Covid19 vaccine IP wavier – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise Trade, and Employment Louise O’Reilly TD has said that the Tánaiste and the European Union’s position on the waiving of intellectual property rights is “unacceptable”.

The Dublin-Fingal TD further added that the EU’s position on the matter, while somewhat fluctuating in the past few hours, seems to be more concerned with protecting business than protecting people.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, both I and Sinn Féin have been clear that there should be no profit from the pandemic for pharmaceutical companies.

“We were involved in the establishment of the European Citizen’s Initiative calling for ‘No Profit on Pandemic’.

“The initiative calls on the European Commission to do everything in its power to make anti-pandemic vaccines and treatments a global public good, freely accessible to everyone, and I would encourage everyone to sign the petition: https://noprofitonpandemic.eu/ 

“The reality that no one is safe until everyone has access to safe and effective treatments and vaccines.

“One of the biggest barriers to that currently is the use of intellectual property (IP) rights to stop the wholescale production of the vaccine.

“I wrote to the Tánaiste, the person responsible for trade, about engaging at a European level in calling for IP rights on Covid19 vaccines to be waived, so the production of these vaccines can be ramped up and that across the world people can be inoculated.

“However, the response I received from the Tánaiste, which paraphrased the EU’s position on the matter, is wholly unacceptable.

“While comments this morning from EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen highlight a fluctuating position, the EU’s refusal to date to directly push for the waiving of IP on the Covid19 vaccine exposes a Union that is more concerned with protecting business than protecting people.

“Both the Tánaiste’s and the EU’s position on waiving IP rights looks even more unacceptable give the Biden Administration’s supports for waiving patent protections for Covid19 vaccines in order to raise global production.

“Private profits cannot take precedence over sharing critical knowledge that could save millions of lives. I would encourage the government to unequivocally support the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver and to do everything in its power to persuade its European counterparts to do the same.”

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