Leaked TRIPS proposal misguided about improving global COVID-19 vaccination rates

24 March 2022: The leaked proposal on the waiver on intellectual property (IP) rights for COVID-19 vaccines is misguided and will not speed up access for world vaccination against the virus.

Medicines Australia CEO, Elizabeth de Somer, said the TRIPS proposal is unnecessary and irrelevant and will only weaken our IP systems.

“The TRIPS waiver is a distraction from taking action on issues that will actually help more people around the world to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” Ms de Somer said.

“It has now been two years since the start of the pandemic and the issues of vaccine inequity could not be clearer. We must put our energy towards overcoming the obvious hurdles such as supporting country readiness, investing in initiatives such as COVAX for equitable vaccine distribution and addressing vaccine hesitancy.

“Strong and well-established IP laws and regulations have accelerated – not inhibited – the discovery and development of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

“This attempt to weaken IP will disincentivise research and development on innovative medicines, vaccines, and treatments, and have negative, unintended consequences for future pandemic preparedness.

“There is still a lot of work ahead of us if we are to tackle improving global vaccine rates, especially those in low-income countries.

“The World Health Organization has forecast there are now enough doses to achieve global vaccination targets. The focus must be on equitable distribution. We should not be distracted by the hollow noise of the TRIPS waiver.

“Medicines Australia continues to support practical, global efforts that will tackle COVID-19 vaccine inequity.

“We continue to encourage the Australian Government to bolster funding to initiatives such as COVAX and work in collaboration with our neighbours in the Indo-Pacific to increase vaccine rates.

“The recent commitment of $100 million from the Australian Government to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) will help the organisation control COVID-19 and battle future pandemics.

“As a nation that values generosity and mateship, the Australian Government must help improve low vaccination rates in low-income countries. This includes helping our closest neighbours in Papua New Guinea who still have a dangerously low vaccination rate of 2.75%,” Ms de Somer said.


You can also further statements about the leaked TRIPS waiver from IFPMA (International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations) and ICBA (International Council of Biotechnology Associations).

For further information or media interviews, please contact:

Chrystianna Moran – 0424 995 118 / chrystianna.moran@medicinesaustralia.com.au.

John Flannery – 0419 494 761 / john.flannery@medicinesaustralia.com.au


TRIPS is the agreement on Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization.


Medicines Australia leads the research-based medicines industry of Australia. Our members discover, develop and manufacture prescription pharmaceutical products, biotherapeutic products and vaccines that bring health, social and economic benefits to Australia. Our members invest in Australian medical research and take local discoveries and developments to the world.

Our mission is to drive policy outcomes in partnership with government, health sector organisations and the community which will ensure Australians have universal, affordable, and fast access to treatments that keep pace with advancements in medicine.