57 Nations Support India’s Proposed Waiver At WTO, Says Minister

Fifty-seven World Trade Organisation (WTO) member-states have supported India’s proposal for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver on COVID-19 vaccines, Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal said on Thursday.

Goyal disclosed this at the sixth edition of the International Conference on Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Industry – ‘India 2021 and India Medical Devices 2021’ via video conferencing.

The minister vowed to make next decade the decade of India, stressing that India and South Africa were at the forefront of the proposal which was introduced in October 2020.

He explained that the proposal was introduced before the WTO TRIPS council, for a waiver during COVID-19 to allow more countries to get equitable access to medicines.

“We now have 57 WTO members supporting us,” he said.

He urged the pharmaceutical industry to show a big heart across the world and support the TRIPS waiver that India proposed at WTO, adding that it would help the entire world come out of the pandemic much faster.

The minister noted that the proposal had put the developed world under pressure, saying that they were trying to protect the interests of some pharmaceutical companies.

“India has seen a golden period for healthcare in the last few years. Can we make next decade the decade of India, in which we should decide that from 2021-2030 the entire world should be following Indian standards?’’ he said.

On the achievements of the Indian pharma industry during the COVID-19 pandemic and the speed with which they produced the vaccines, he stated that “The pharmaceutical industry is the class example of the glass half full.

“You have done wonderful work. The nation and world will always be indebted to the Indian Pharma Industry, often called the ‘Pharmacy of the World’.

“But I could even call it the ‘Health Capital of the World’.”

“And more so, due to the contribution that Indian Pharma companies provided to the world.

“I can see that very soon, given the collective efforts of the industry, all the stakeholders, and the entire Government of India, and the blessings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi put a very very bright future for your industry,” he said.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been lauded by global leaders as India continues to lead in assisting countries with vaccines.

“Can we take it upon ourselves that this is going to be a defining decade both for the pharma industry and the country as we move forward to truly and achieve the rightful place of India in the comity of nations?” asked Goyal.

More than 25 nations across the world have already received the Made-in-India COVICG-19 vaccines with 49 more countries to be supplied in the coming days.

The countries range from Europe, Latin America and the Caribbeans to Africa, South-East Asia and the Pacific Islands, Goyal said.