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European Parliament: question on waiver of patent protection to speed up vaccine production in the EU

By many MEPs

"Parliamentary questions

1 March 2021 

Question for oral answer O-000013/2021 to the Commission Rule 136

Tiziana Beghin (NI), Fabio Massimo Castaldo (NI), Mario Furore (NI), Chiara Gemma (NI), Sabrina Pignedoli (NI), Marco Zullo (NI), Laura Ferrara (NI), Dino Giarrusso (NI), Ivan Vilibor Sinčić (NI), Tudor Ciuhodaru (S&D), Francisco Guerreiro (Verts/ALE), Tanja Fajon (S&D), Peter Lundgren (ECR), Marc Botenga (The Left), Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó (NI), Clara Ponsatí Obiols (NI), Antoni Comín i Oliveres (NI), Dimitrios Papadimoulis (The Left), Idoia Villanueva Ruiz (The Left), Tatjana Ždanoka (Verts/ALE), Leila Chaibi (The Left), Pernando Barrena Arza (The Left), Brando Benifei (S&D), Massimiliano Smeriglio (S&D), Elisabetta Gualmini (S&D), Traian Băsescu (PPE), Kateřina Konečná (The Left), Clara Aguilera (S&D), Patrizia Toia (S&D), Pina Picierno (S&D), Gilbert Collard (ID), Radosław Sikorski (PPE), Elena Kountoura (The Left), João Ferreira (The Left), Sandra Pereira (The Left), Daniela Rondinelli (NI) 

Subject: waiver of patent protection to speed up vaccine production in the EU

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic calls for the urgent expansion of Europe’s vaccine production capacity. Many Member States already have the skills and technologies to produce these vaccines, but there are still legal limitations that prevent them starting production outside the pharmaceutical companies holding the respective patents.

These patents are a necessary tool for the protection of intellectual property, but in the current circumstances they are limiting efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, and delaying access to a life-saving treatment for many European citizens.
Article 31 of the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) provides for the right to arrange the use of patents in an emergency without the holder’s authorisation. At EU level there is also the possibility of activating Article 122 of the TFEU, which makes it possible to intervene in the event of difficulties in supplying certain products.

Does the Commission intend to use these or other tools to speed up vaccine production in Europe?

What other measures does it intend to take to achieve this aim?

Submitted: 01/03/2021

Lapses: 02/06/2021

Last updated: 3 March 2021".

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