The French president tried to persuade Biden officials to follow suit call for a discounted vaccine, blames “Anglo-Saxon” countries for obstructing global life-saving weapons.
Emmanuel Macron said technical disputes US-initiated intervention was a way back compared to the existing barriers to export of vaccines and ingredients, as well as the need for free territories for the sharing of resources with developing countries.
At the EU summit in Porto, Portugal, he headed to the United States, saying that the country has protected itself against home-based vaccines.
“Today, the Anglo-Saxons are shutting down these supplements with a vaccine,” Macron said. “What is the real problem now? It is not really about intellectual ability. You can pass on skills to laboratories who do not know how to make them. ”
Speaking in Porto, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said he was ready to take part in the IP talks, but added that other vaccination regions should follow the EU and allow a larger part of it to make exports.
The comments came two days later Katherine Tai, senior adviser to President Joe Biden, says the US is helping to reduce the security defenses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Such a move would allow drug manufacturers to develop a “copycat” vaccine without fear of arrest for violating intellectual property rights.
Biden’s expertise misled the EU and prompted a quick response from leading countries including Germany, home to pharmaceutical company BioNTech, which together with Pfizer manufactures one of the most advanced Covid-19 vaccines.
Macron said he was ready to discuss intellectual property, but it was not a major issue to be addressed, in defense of the EU’s reputation for vaccination and exports.
Other challenges, such as restrictions on exports and limited availability of raw materials, played a more important role than thermal protection in the country’s ability to vaccinate, the EU says.
“We have not been given a single example [production] power has been restricted for the protection of legitimate rights or IP rights, ”said a Commission official.
Von der Leyen said that although he was “open” to negotiations on legal issues, the move would not bring any additional vaccines in the short and medium term. Participants in the anti-IP dispute should, like the EU, be willing to export “a large portion of what is available in the region,” he said, against the US.
The EU has sent an estimated 200m vaccine so far, the same number as for its citizens, said von der Leyen. In contrast, fewer vaccines left the US.
EU officials say Washington informed the EU of the move as early as Wednesday, but that there were no talks or attempts to coordinate the process. “If you ask me what is going to happen next, the first thing is that the US is explaining exactly what it means by the announcement it made – we didn’t see anything but ordinary words,” said one official.
Brussels is now trying to decide how to respond and European leaders are due to discuss the issue at an evening conference in Porto on Friday evening.
“Whether there is a discount or not, the problem goes further,” the commissioner said earlier on Friday, citing the difficulties needed in raising open chains – with an mRNA vaccine with 280 weapons from 19 countries.
Another problem, according to the director, was that obtaining a license was not the same as obtaining a vaccine. About 80 to 100 patents were involved in the development of the mRNA vaccine, the official said, adding that even the discovery of all of them “does not give you an idea of the vaccine, because you need to know the technology”.
Brussels also states that international trade unions already have the opportunity to share the IP vaccine, including compulsory licensing.
A few months ago the EU refused to be pressured under the auspices of India and South Africa within the World Trade Organization to Vaccine immunization. Brussels worries that it will face challenges around the world to change talks at the WTO, which is scheduled for early June, although there is a chance the conference will be scheduled for this month, according to business leaders.
A senior official in Biden said there was now an opportunity for the WTO to come together to provide solutions that help save lives. “We will continue to strengthen our work – working with government agencies and all those who can – to increase vaccine production and distribution around the world and to increase the equipment needed to develop vaccines.”