No Patents, No Monopolies in a Pandemic

Monopolies are often an obstacle between people and the lifesaving health tools they need. Patents and other exclusivities limit supply and keep prices high.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown we need new rules that can help every country address the fast-growing medical needs during a major global health crisis.

Over 100 countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO) supported a proposal to temporarily waive patents, trade secrets and other intellectual property (IP) on all COVID-19 medical tools.


17 JUNE 2022
More than 20 months since India and South Africa first proposed a landmark intellectual property (IP) Waiver for COVID-19 medical tools at the World Trade Organization (WTO), governments reached a decision. MSF is disappointed in the inadequate outcome after nearly two years of discussions at the WTO. The agreement will not provide a global solution fit for a pandemic. Read more

15 JUNE 2022
Over 170 civil society organisation organisations signed the open letter asking ministers meeting at WTO to not accept the current text and demand an effective and meaningful TRIPS Waiver that covers all major Intellectual Property Rights on all COVID-19 medical products for all people. Read more

11 JUNE 2022
Yesterday, 20 months since India and South Africa first proposed a landmark intellectual property (IP) Waiver for COVID medical tools at the World Trade Organization (WTO), an interim draft decision document was published from which governments are expected to finalise an outcome text at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference next week (12-15 June). This draft decision text is far from the IP Waiver for COVID medical tools that the world needs and may end up setting a negative precedent, including by backsliding on public health safeguards that are currently enshrined in global trade rules.

MSF urges governments negotiating at the WTO to stand strong against problematic draft decision text and work to agree on a real Waiver. Read more

7 JUNE 2022
At the World Trade Organization (WTO) General Council Meeting (7 June) and the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (12-15 June), governments are expected to continue negotiations on a problematic draft text presented in early May that, if adopted as it stands, could set a negative precedent for efforts to increase access to medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tests now and in the future.

MSF again urged governments to reject this early May draft text, and instead take this opportunity to adopt the real ‘TRIPS Waiver’ – proposed 20 months ago and supported by more than 100 governments – as it would provide an effective way to help increase people’s access to all COVID medical tools. Read more

MAY 2022  

A draft text under discussion by several governments was leaked in March, and is categorically different from the waiver proposal. The text has now been officially tabled by the WTO for formal negotiations. MSF urges governments to reject this draft COVID-19 text as it stands, as it would set a negative precedent, and to pursue substantive revisions towards a more ambitious outcome as outlined by the original waiver proposal. Read more

#NoCovidMonopolies - A Timeline. The story of our campaign so far.

Since October 2020, a global movement to make COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, tests & other medical tools more accessible worldwide has grown.

Infographic: No monopolies on medical tools in a pandemic

This request for an IP waiver could be a gamechanger because it would put people's lives over profit and provide governments with the necessary legal basis to ensure access to COVID-19 medical tools for their people throughout this pandemic.

[Last updated: 18 January 2022 - Sources: Knowledge Ecology International, TWN & WTO]  Note: The discussions at the WTO are taking place behind closed doors. As such, we strive to update the map as soon as we have confirmation of each country’s evolving positions.

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