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WHA Adopts Resolution Calling for Universal Access to COVID-19 Drugs

GENEVA - The United States has voted for a World Health Assembly resolution that provides for universal, affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, but with reservations.

This European-led resolution calls for flexibilities in Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. TRIPS, as it is called, is enshrined in a number of World Trade Organization agreements. These flexibilities allow countries to legally import or produce low-priced generic vaccines and drugs to prevent or treat COVID-19.

The United States pushed back on this during the drafting stage. It argued that stripping pharmaceutical companies of their patent rights would cut into their profits and discourage the development of new products.  

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other officials attend the virtual 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Geneva, Switzerland, May 19, 2020.  Christopher Black/WHO/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY

In a statement following the vote at the Assembly, the U.S. said the resolution presented an unbalanced and incomplete approach to the issue of access to medicines and TRIPS. And this, it said, might prevent critical acceleration in the research, development and distribution of COVID-19-related products.  

The resolution also calls for an independent and comprehensive evaluation of the international response to the World Health Organization’s performance in tackling the pandemic. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he will initiate such an evaluation at the earliest appropriate moment.

Aliqismet BADALOV,
“Khalq qazeti”

20 2020 12:27 -
2 July 2020 | 15:33
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