June 24 Protest and Presser: EU, Quit Being Big Pharma’s Puppet

EU Must End Its Outrageous Opposition to the WTO COVID-19 Waiver to Save Lives and End the Pandemic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 17, 2021
CONTACT: KParrish@citizen.org

WHAT: Members of Congress and principals from U.S. health, development and labor organizations, and activists will call on the European Commission to end its dangerous opposition to the COVID-19 emergency waiver of WTO intellectual property barriers so more vaccines and treatments can be produced worldwide.

The protest will urge the EU to stop blocking the 130+ WTO countries trying to secure the waiver and instead engage in good-faith negotiations to achieve a comprehensive TRIPS waiver quickly so that greater supplies of vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests can be produced in as many countries as possible, as quickly as possible, to end the global pandemic.

 

WHO:   U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)

U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.)

U.S. Rep. Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-Ill.)

Sara Nelson, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, President

Abby Maxman, Oxfam America, President

Paul O’Brien, Amnesty International USA, Executive Director

Pauline Muchina, American Friends Service Committee, Public Education & Advocacy Coordinator (PEAC) for the Africa region

Rev. Amy Reumann, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Senior Director for Witness in Society

Lori Wallach, Public Citizen, Director of Global Trade Watch

Emcee: Matthew Rose, Health GAP (Global Access Project), Director of U.S. Policy and Advocacy

*Other speakers to be announced

 

WHERE: Headquarters of the Delegation of the European Union

2175 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20037

 

WHEN: Thursday, June 24 at 10 a.m. E.T.

 

VISUALS: Large Angela Merkel puppet that will try to call the shots for the whole EU on limiting global COVID shots…

 

BACKGROUND: At the G-7 Summit, European Union officials and those of Germany, the UK and other nations proclaimed their unity with the U.S. Yet on one of the most critical issues facing the world – ending the COVID-19 pandemic – the EU, Germany and UK alone are opposing not just the U.S., but the entire world, by stopping a critical public health initiative the world demands. The WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) requires countries to provide lengthy monopoly protections for medicines, tests and technologies used to produce them. While there is potential production capacity in every region of the world, WTO rules block timely, unfettered access to the technology needed to boost manufacturing potential. Unless much greater volumes are made, many people in developing nations may not get COVID-19 vaccines until 2024.

After the U.S. and more than 120 other countries announced support for a temporary waiver of WTO-required IP barriers, text-based negotiations are finally underway. Germany has vehemently opposed the waiver, pitting the EU against the rest of the world at the WTO. With the UK and Switzerland hiding behind EU waiver opposition, these few WTO members are still doing all they can to undermine the waiver, including a recently submission intended to delay and distract from waiver talk by reiterating support for the very WTO rules that are blocking more production worldwide. The European Commission’s support for “more-of-the-same” reliance on Big Pharma to somehow close the massive gap between supply and the 10-15 billion doses needed has proved to be a failure. That’s why Germany, the European Commission and the UK are isolated as the emergency COVID WTO waiver gains ever more support, including recent support from France, the WTO Director General, the European Parliament, the nations of APEC, a majority of congressional Democrats; the WHO Director General, 170-plus former heads of state and Nobel laureates, 400+ U.S. civil society organizations and 400+ NGOs around the world.

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