A single Liberian frontline nurse has traveled to the World Economic Forum in Davos to persuade governments to approve a patent waiver for Covid-19 immunizations and healthcare equipment, which was first proposed by India and South Africa.
A humorous inversion of the worldwide applause for frontline staff, George Poe Williams has organized an unconventional boycott in the form of a “round of applause” for drug executives. Big Pharma opposes a patent exemption and instead advocates for cross-national agreements.
“Action (on the patent waiver) should’ve been done earlier,” Williams told BusinessLine from Davos, alluding to the October 2020 plan. “It makes our job more difficult.” Health personnel are overworked, and supplies are in short supply. “Health workers have died, and this may not have happened,” stated Williams, the Liberian National Health Workers’ Union’s Secretary-General. He began his “round of applause” demonstration at the front of the Forum’s heavily guarded perimeter.
Williams called for the waiver plan’s original content to be brought back, alluding to the text of the exemption request which is being discussed even as he complains. He claims that countries are rejecting the current version because of its narrow scope and stringent standards. If Germany, the European Commission, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland change their minds, the idea might be approved during the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference in mid-June, according to a letter from Public Utilities International, an international trade union federation.
Over a hundred countries, including the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, and PSI, have backed a Creative Content (IP) exemption at the World Trade Organization (WTO), with support from the international agencies like the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, and PSI. According to William, a few governments are still preventing the waiver from being implemented.
“I am a nurse, and I go according to what occurred at the bedside,” Willaim remarked in response to the pharmaceutical industry’s contention that the world’s supply of Covid-19 vaccinations was sufficient. “Only about a third of us have been vaccinated,” he explained. “We don’t want charity; we want solidarity,” he said, noting that a copyright exemption would have allowed nations with the ability to manufacture the vaccine to do so at a lesser cost. According to PSI, pharmaceutical companies gained over thirty-four billion dollars in profits during the crisis, fueled by monopoly vaccine ownership.
As he prepares to protest the ongoing World Health Assembly in Geneva, William appealed to anyone who lost family members during the pandemic to join the campaign for a patent waiver. He will then attend the WTO conference in a few weeks.