The current global health crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic has refocused our attention on the shortcomings of the TRIPS Agreement and the patent system in dealing with global health crises. This time around, developing countries must ensure that the TRIPS waiver succeeds in creating the momentum needed to build manufacturing capacities in the poorest countries, especially in Africa, for those in need. vaccines, pharmaceuticals and other health technologies. This is the only effective way for African countries to reduce their dependence on imports of essential drugs and strengthen their health security, thus contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals for the poorest countries.
This South Center Policy Brief by Faizel Ismail provides a summary of the recommendations of several global commissions on the relationship between patents, innovation, and public health is provided. The World Trade Oorganization proposal by South Africa/India for a TRIPS waiver for vaccines, pharmaceuticals and health technologies for COVID-19 is discussed. It argues that the COVID-19 pandemic provides African countries with the opportunity to develop their health security by building their manufacturing capacity in vaccines, pharmaceuticals and health technologies. Finally, the Policy Brief concludes by calling on the developed countries to supportthe COVID-19 IP Waiver proposed by South Africa/India and over 100 countries in the WTO and help to build the manufacturing capacities of the poorest countries in Africa—thereby reducing the current inequity in vaccine access and contributing to global health securityand the sustainable development goals.