The backstory to a proposed waiver on COVID-19 vaccine patents

Friday, September 17, 2021 - 4:13pm

The world continues to face massive vaccine divides that risk prolonging the pandemic everywhere. A growing access to medicines movement is calling for a waiver on COVID-19 vaccine and medicine patents, so that more companies could, in theory, manufacture vaccines. This is a controversial proposal that has stalled in trade talks for nearly a year. But overriding exclusive rights on medicines in the name of public health is not new. The World's Elana Gordon reports on the origins of this conflict, which dates back at least 20 years, to a case involving some 40 pharmaceutical companies, the government of South Africa and millions of people dying from another virus.