Saudi Arabia backs international initiatives on COVID-19 vaccines access rights

The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property will continue to provide joint international support as part of the Kingdom’s drive to help combat the pandemic

  
A Saudi woman waits to get a dose of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 17, 2020.

A Saudi woman waits to get a dose of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 17, 2020.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri
 
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has thrown its weight behind efforts led by the World Trade Organization to give global access to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines in compliance with intellectual property rights and relevant international treaties.

The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property will continue to provide joint international support as part of the Kingdom’s drive to help combat the pandemic.

The SAIP affirmed the country’s commitment to international treaties related to intellectual property, particularly the Agreement on Trade Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights administered by the WTO, a body that Saudi Arabia joined in 2005.

It also pledged to publish and implement rules for the compulsory licensing of patents while backing the World Health Organization-launched COVID-19 Technology Access Pool program to encourage countries to share know-how on the development of virus-related medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics.

At a property rights meeting held in Geneva in April, the authority called on the international community to make COVID-19 vaccines available at reasonable prices while ensuring that the issue of intellectual property rights did not become an obstacle to equal access and the prompt production of vaccines for non-commercial purposes.

The Kingdom urged a quick negotiation of a waiver on intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and for vaccine manufacturing countries to enable smooth technology transfer to nations wishing to make their own.

Saudi Arabia has allocated $500 million toward the global development and distribution of vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic tools related to COVID-19. It has contributed $150 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, $150 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and $200 million to organizations and other international and regional health programs.

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