WILMINGTON, Delaware (AP) – The best trade negotiator in the United States will begin negotiations with the World Trade Organization on ways to overcome intellectual property problems that prevent critical vaccines against COVID-19 from being more widespread in the world scale, two White House officials said Sunday.
The White House has come under pressure from lawmakers in the country and governments abroad to join forces to repeal patent rules for vaccines so that poorer countries can start producing their own common versions of the photos to vaccinate their populations.
The United States has been criticized for focusing first on vaccinating Americans, especially as the supply of vaccines has outpaced demand and doses approved for use elsewhere in the world but not in the United States are out of work.
U.S. Trade Representative Catherine Ty will begin talks with the trade organization “on how we can get this vaccine more widespread, more licensed, more widely shared,”
Klein and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the administration would have more to say on the issue in the coming days.
Sullivan said the administration believes that pharmaceutical companies “should deliver on a large scale and at a price for the whole world, so that there is no obstacle for everyone to be vaccinated.”
Klein said the United States had sent India enough raw materials it needed to make 20 million doses of vaccine immediately.
India is battling a new deadly wave of coronavirus infections and deaths.
Ty’s office did not respond Sunday to a request for further details by email after Klein and Sullivan’s comments.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who is among a group of Democratic senators who are putting pressure on the White House on the issue, said the situation was “morally unpleasant.”
Sanders said that when millions of lives are at stake, pharmaceutical companies must be told to “allow other countries to have these intellectual property rights so that they can produce the vaccines that are sorely needed in poor countries.”
“There is something morally unpleasant about rich countries being able to get this vaccine, and yet millions and billions of people in poor countries are unable to afford it,” Sanders said.
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