Activists Say WTO Deal on Vaccine Patents Is “Sham” Dictated by Rich Nations

The World Trade Organization’s 12th Ministerial Conference ended Friday with an agreement on patent rights that campaigners said would do virtually nothing to address vast global inequities in coronavirus vaccine and treatment access, a failure they attributed to relentless obstruction by rich countries and the pharmaceutical industry. Reached after marathon negotiations, the narrow deal clarifies governments’ ability to use compulsory licensing to ramp up vaccine production without the consent of patent-holding pharmaceutical companies. The agreement also temporarily eases restrictions on the export of vaccines produced under compulsory licenses. The final text, which is set to remain in effect for a…

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