October 14th, 2021
NDP Urges Canadian Government to Support COVID Vaccine Patent Waiver at the WTO
VANCOUVER, BC – As talks continue at the WTO in Geneva to consider temporarily waiving COVID-19 patents , NDP MP Don Davies urged the Canadian government to strongly support this measure.
“We’ve seen the incredible impact that vaccines have had in the fight against COVID-19 in developed countries, and much of the research for COVID vaccines has been publicly funded,” said Davies.
“Yet many countries in the developing world have been unable to access vaccines due to global patent regulations. This is unacceptable not just from a humanitarian standpoint, but also a practical one, as we know that without a coordinated global vaccination effort, new COVID-19 variants will continue to develop.”
US President Joe Biden threw his support behind the patent waiver initiative on May 5 of this year. At that time, 75 MPs from all parties represented in Parliament signeda letter urging the Trudeau government to support the patent waiver initiative.
The Liberal government has thus far refused to do so.
On October 6, Benjamin Blanco, Minister of Foreign Trade and Integration, Ministry of Foreign Relations for Bolivia, responded to Canada’s failure to approve the manufacture of 15 million doses of Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine destined for Bolivia at Biolyse Pharma, a St. Catharines-based pharmaceutical company. He said that he is “disappointed” in the Canadian government’s response and believes that Canada lacks the “political will” to waive vaccine patents.
“The fight against COVID-19 is a global battle and we all benefit when any human is vaccinated,” said Davies. “This is a matter of basic equity and public health.
“It’s time for the Canadian government to adopt a strong stance in support of patent waivers for COVID-19 vaccines. The world is watching, and we should be on the right side of history,” Davies concluded.