WTO Director-General meets with CEOs to discuss improved access to COVID-19 therapeutics

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala met on 3 November with CEOs from a range of companies engaged in the production of key COVID-19 therapeutics.

The purpose of the meeting was to review current challenges for expanding and diversifying production of therapeutics and explore the potential role of trade policy tools in addressing and overcoming those challenges, especially in light of ongoing discussions among WTO members on extending the TRIPS Decision at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) to COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics.

The discussions with top executives from producers both of original and generic versions of the main therapeutic medicines were along similar lines to the Director-General’s earlier valuable dialogue with vaccine producers. As with the earlier discussions, the conversation was informal and off the record, to enable an open sharing of experiences focusing on practical solutions.

Participants agreed to keep in touch and to continue to share information, as work continues on a range of fronts to expand and diversify therapeutic production and distribution around the world.

The MC12 TRIPS Decision adopted on 17 June contains a commitment that, no later than six months from the date of its adoption, members will decide on its possible extension to cover the production and supply of COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics.

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