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Numerous advocacy groups and institutional shareholders are chiding Pfizer for arguing that its intellectual property is a human right and would be violated if the Dominican Republican government issues a compulsory license for its Covid-19 pill.

Advocates say the company invoked human rights in a recent hearing in which it attempted to convince the Dominican government not to issue such a license for its pill, Paxlovid. A petition to issue a license was filed in December after the country was excluded from a licensing deal to make the medicine available in mostly poor countries. A decision could come by next week.


The argument has sparked anger, though, amid a growing gulf in access to Covid-19 medical products between poor and wealthy nations. As new variants have emerged, drugmakers are being urged to ensure widespread availability of existing and future vaccines and treatments. The issue has prompted a lengthy battle at the World Trade Organization over a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights.

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