The waiver is opposed by China, the European Union, the UK, the US, Switzerland, Japan and Australia

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has said that 57 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have supported a joint proposal by India and South Africa for equitable access to medicines and other products during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

In October of last year, India and South Africa proposed a Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver for all WTO members for certain provisions of copyrights, patents, and protection of undisclosed information to allow greater access to affordable Covid-19 healthcare facilities, like vaccines, especially for developing and middle-income countries.

Calling upon the pharmaceutical industry to show a big heart across the world and support the TRIPS waiver that India has proposed at WTO, Goyal said that this will help the entire world come out of the pandemic much faster. The Minister said that the proposal has put the developed world under pressure, who are trying to protect the interests of some pharmaceutical companies.

The waiver is being opposed by China, the European Union, the UK, the US, Switzerland, Japan, and Australia, among others. The TRIPS waiver has garnered the strong support of around 90 countries. The ultimate decision on the waiver will be taken by all member states of WTO at the General Council in March, 2021.

Goyal was addressing the FICCI’s International Conference on Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Sector.

The Minister said that India is well on the path to come out of the COVID pandemic and the Pharma industry is well on the path to grow out of the COVID pandemic. He said that the Pharmaceutical industry provided 3 V's: - Ventilators - Vaccines - V-shaped recovery, and these three V's are reflective of the strength of the industry.

“As PM Narendra Modi says, let us convert this COVID pandemic into an opportunity, and nobody is better poised to do that than the Pharma industry.”, he added.

Further, he said that the world today needs CURE. CURE will come out of a Cost-effective Universal solution through Research and Enterprise.

“If we take it upon ourselves that India is going to CURE the world, I see no limitations in our ability to aspire to become a world dominant leader in the field of med-tech, medical devices, healthcare provider. CURE will come out of Cost-effective universal solution through research and enterprise,” Goyal said.

Goyal said quality does not come at a price, rather quality reduces our price. He said that Regulatory and good manufacturing practices, systems and certifications, approvals, will always help us grow in scale and bring down the price. The Minister said that India has seen a golden period for healthcare in the last few years. He remarked that we should make the next decade, the decade of India when the entire world should be following Indian standards.