Covid-19 vaccine: Civil society groups urge for waiver on TRIPS obligations
Civil society groups and private sector leaders from home and abroad have called for lifting the restrictions set in the WTO's Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights and declaring Covid-19 vaccine as public good to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
They said the UN should work to lift WTO restrictions on vaccines and the Bangladesh government should also take an effective policy to ensure vaccines for all.
The calls came today at a webinar titled "Emerging Issues in Access to Treatment for Covid-19 in Bangladesh" jointly organised by Equity BD, People's Health Movement Bangladesh and the Third World Network.
Prof Dr Rashid-E-Mahbub, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said, "We need a global socialistic view to ensuring vaccination for all. We need vaccines on an equity basis, not on a profit basis."
KM Gopakumar said, senior researcher and legal advisor of Third World Network, an international non-profit based in Malaysia, said people in developing countries and LDCs need access to vaccines and other health products to survive the pandemic, which requires widespread availability of these health products.
Sudip Chaudhuri, former Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata, said the rise and growth of the pharmaceutical industry in Bangladesh is a great achievement. Continuation of the product patent exemption in pharmaceuticals will help not only Bangladesh but other countries as well.
Ziaul Haque Mukta, members secretary of the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, said TRIPS waiver for Bangladesh doesn't benefit only Bangladesh but it is directly benefiting developed countries along with other LDCs and developing countries as these countries can import low-cost medicines from Bangladesh.
"We need to invest more with ensuring proper utilization. We have seen 24% of the allocation is unutilized. To fight COVID 19 pandemic, we need to equip the Upazila level hospitals, we also need to arrange mass awareness at the village level," said Zakir Hossain of People's Health.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of Equity BD said the role of private sector in health sector is well recognised in Bangladesh, but it is important to ensure public investment and management in this sector.
Rabbur Reza said, chief operating officer at Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd; Ranja Sengupta of Third World Network also spoke.