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Wednesday, September 22 • 2:30am - 3:00am
Australia's TRIPS Waiver Wobble: Intellectual Property, Access to Essential Medicines, and the Coronavirus COVID-19

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In 2020, South Africa and India proposed a TRIPS Waiver to help facilitate the manufacture and dissemination of vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics in the COVID-19 crisis. In 2021, after some deliberation, President Joe Biden said that the United States would support for a TRIPS Waiver for vaccines - given the exceptional circumstances. In response, a number of other countries - such as New Zealand - followed suit. While playing a key role in vaccine dissemination in the Asia-Pacific, Australia's position on the TRIPS Waiver remains equivocal. While recognising the need to share vaccines for the good of humanity, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison was reluctant to commit Australia to support the TRIPS Waiver. Australia wasdependent upon Pfizer to fulfil its vaccine supply - and seemed wary of offending Pfizer, which is a strident opponent of the TRIPS Waiver. The Morrison Government was been under pressure from opposition parties, the union movement, and civil society organisations to commit to a TRIPS waiver. Finally, in September 2021, Australia's Trade Minister indicated that the Morrison Government would support the TRIPS Waiver. Nonetheless, Big Pharma remains implacably opposed to a TRIPS Waiver, and has mounted an extensive lobbying campaign against the measure. The European Union, Switzerland, Norway, the United Kingdom, Japan, and a number of other countries continue to resist the adoption of a TRIPS Waiver.

avatar for Matthew Rimmer

Matthew Rimmer

Professor of Intellectual Property and Innovation Law, Faculty of Business and Law, QUT
Dr Matthew Rimmer is a Professor in Intellectual Property and Innovation Law at the Faculty of Business and Law, at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). He has published widely on copyright law and information technology, patent law and biotechnology, access to medicines... Read More →

Wednesday September 22, 2021 2:30am - 3:00am UTC