The Austrian Economics Center and the Hayek Institut have joined the Property Rights Alliance (PRA), along with 27 partner organizations from 15 countries around the globe, in sending a letter to WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and TRIPS Council Chair Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli strongly opposing the revocation of intellectual property rights for the producers of vaccines and other COVID-19-related products under a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver.
The Property Rights Alliance is an international research and advocacy organization committed to promoting and protecting innovation, intellectual and physical property rights, as well as publishing the International Property Rights Index. Strong legal and political environments that recognize and enforce property rights preserve the tangible and intangible assets of inventors while incentivizing innovation.
The letter notes that as of March 2022, 10.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have already been administered across 184 countries, and a total of 24 billion doses are expected to have been produced by June 2022, more than enough for every person on the planet to get vaccinated.
The letter concludes that a TRIPS waiver will not eliminate the remaining barriers to vaccine distribution and would only empower criminal syndicates and counterfeiters while countries scramble to pass legislation and modernize their domestic manufacturing. Instead, the signers propose, WTO member states should focus on eliminating the numerous trade barriers that continue to prevent the world from ending the COVID-19 pandemic.
The full letter can be found here.