On 2nd October 2020 India and South Africa made a joint submission (IP/C/W/669)  to the World Trade Organization (WTO) seeking a waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement (patents, trade secrets, copyright and industrial designs) in relation to the containment, prevention and treatment of COVID-19.  This proposal has gained the support and co-sponsorship of developing countries from around the world as well as international organizations including the World Health Organization, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UNITAID, and representatives of civil society, trade unions, human rights experts and academia. 

This waiver is an important step in removing intellectual property barriers to scaling up and diversifying supply of COVID-19 medical products. However, a group of developed countries are blocking the adoption of the proposed waiver at the WTO. 

More than 200 non-governmental organizations and trade unions from the Global South have sent letters to leaders of developed countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, calling on them to unconditionally support the proposed waiver for the prevention, treatment and containment of COVID-19 and to immediately stop obstructing its adoption.

Press Release by People’s Health Movement, Public Services International & Third World Network

Civil Society Letters to Developed Countries 

1. Australia

2. Canada

3. Denmark

4. European Union

5. France

6. Germany

7. Italy

8. Japan

9. Netherlands

10. Norway

11. Spain

12. United Kingdom

13. USA (President Joe Biden)

14. USA (Vice President Kamala Harris)

For more information on the waiver proposal go to: