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After 18 months of talks, a compromise was reached on a proposal to waive intellectual property rights for Covid-19 medical products, according to a document shared with STAT and confirmed by a trade official familiar with the negotiations.

For the moment, the agreement reached between the European Union, South Africa, India and the United States, only covers vaccines, but in six months could be extended to therapies and diagnostics. Developing countries that have exported less than 10% of the world’s Covid-19 vaccine doses in 2021 would be able to authorize use of a patented vaccine without the consent of the patent owner.


Notably, the agreement would allow countries to use various means to authorize vaccine production, such as executive orders and emergency decrees, not just compulsory licenses. A World Trade Organization agreement permits countries to issue licenses, which allow a public agency or drugmaker to copy a patented medicine without consent of the brand-name company that owns the patent.

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