Statement on U.S. Support for TRIPS Waiver

While there is much sadness as COVID-19 continues to ravage the planet, today there is some good news: The Biden administration has pledged its support for a World Trade Organization waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines. Partners In Health commends this first step from the administration. However, the administration must not limit the waiver to vaccines only. As more than 100 countries have called for, the waiver must be applied to all COVID-19 technologies, such as diagnostics, treatments, and equipment like ventilators. Further, the administration must conduct text-based negotiations rapidly and transparently, with text accessible to the public. Only then can we truly stand together in solidarity against the pandemic.

A TRIPS waiver for COVID-19 technologies is an important move forward in democratizing access to COVID-19 tools. The profit motive of commercial manufacturing means that these tools won’t “trickle down” to the poor without bold political choices like this. Today’s announcement brings hope for a faster, more effective, and more equitable response to the pandemic. From Haiti to Rwanda, the U.S. to Peru, everyone at PIH applauds this and looks forward to the administration following through in good faith.