Russia ready to back waiving intellectual property rights for Covid vaccines, as Putin says now ‘not the time to maximize profits’

6 May, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow would support relinquishing patent rights for Covid-19 vaccines, given the importance of fighting the pandemic.

The proposals to waive intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines “don’t contradict” the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which allow such an option during emergencies, Putin said on Thursday.

The Russian president instructed Tatyana Golikova, the deputy prime minister responsible for social policy, to explore patent waivers. “Of course, Russia would support such an approach,” Putin said, adding that the ongoing pandemic is “an emergency.”

Under the current circumstances…we must think not about maximizing profits, but how to ensure the safety of people.

The World Health Organization has been arguing that there must be a fair and equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines across the globe, and that poorer nations must have access to immunization.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that the EU is willing to discuss vaccine patent waivers, after Washington expressed support for the idea.

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