A COALITION on health rights on Sunday urged the Philippine government to back international calls for the waiving of intellectual property rights for coronavirus vaccines.    

“Government pronouncements have highlighted the lack of vaccine supply, yet does not acknowledge the question of inequity on an international scale — one that the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ) waiver dares to answer by providing more opportunities to manufacture and produce vaccines outside the profit-oriented pharmaceutical monopolies,” the Coalition for People’s Right to Health (CPRH) said in a statement.     

Mr. Duterte has criticized wealthy nations for hoarding coronavirus vaccines while poor countries struggle to secure shots for their population.   

“Rich countries hoard life-saving vaccines while poor nations wait for trickles,” he said in a taped speech to the 193-member United Nations General Assembly last month.    

The tough-talking leader has also accused the European Union of holding up vaccine supplies from other countries, citing the economic bloc’s export rule that requires drug makers to obtain permission first before shipping vaccines outside the region.   

The CPRH said Philippine authorities have failed to pressure the World Trade Organization to waive the patents for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines, medicines, and technologies that will prevent, treat, and contain the pandemic.    

Instead of transparently addressing the inequitable distribution of vaccines, “no coherent position on the proposal at the WTO has been put forward,” it said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza 

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