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Ex-World Leaders and Nobel Laureates Call on Biden to Waive Patent Rules for COVID Vaccines

HeadlineApr 15, 2021

One hundred seventy-five former heads of state and Nobel laureates are calling on President Biden to back a waiver on World Trade Organization intellectual property rules for COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic. Nine out of 10 people in most poor countries likely will not receive a vaccine this year, according to the open letter, but an IP waiver would “expand global manufacturing capacity, unhindered by industry monopolies that are driving the dire supply shortages blocking vaccine access.” Signatories include former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and economist Joseph Stiglitz. Separately, a coalition of 250 organizations, including Amnesty International, Public Citizen and Doctors Without Borders, issued a similar plea to the head of the World Trade Organization. The fate of the international efforts could be decided on May 5 at the next major meeting between WTO members.

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