Taking action against IP protection threats


AusBiotech is inviting its Members to join it in signing a global, open letter in opposition to the ongoing risk to international IP protection that is before the World Trade Organization (WTO).

An open letter from members of the world’s biotechnology ecosystem regarding COVID-19, intellectual property and access to vaccines and other essential treatments, is being developed through the International Council Biotechnology Association (ICBA), and AusBiotech and its members have been invited to back this critical message.

The WTO’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver would see, under certain circumstances, member countries set aside patent rights for a medicine or vaccine in response to a public health emergency.

The global biotech industry is united in its drive for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, but the proposal to waive IP protection that is before the WTO will not overcome the barriers preventing access.

AusBiotech members represent a wide range of biotech firms that rely on IP to fund their research, turning ideas into products, and a platform to partner globally. Allowing international governments to waive IP rights would undermine the global collaboration that has led to more than one billion vaccine doses being administered in 188 countries so far.

The letter outlines how “more must be done to ensure global access to the vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics that have been developed by our sector. We strongly believe we must address access issues in a way that not only ensures that we are able to save more lives during the current pandemic, but also helps make certain that we are better prepared, and better positioned, to respond to the next one.”

Uniting the pipeline, AusBiotech is joined by Medicines Australia in co-signing the letter. The two organisations, and its memberships, have a strong relationship and collaborate together to foster and support the biotech and medicines industry.

AusBiotech was invited to sign the letter through its ICBA membership. ICBA is a coalition of not-for-profit, national biotechnology trade associations formed to promote public understanding of, and to advocate for, public policies that support the growth of the innovative biotechnology industries. ICBA represents the global voice of the industry in international fora, with the goal of promoting continued innovation in the human health, agriculture, and industrial and environmental sectors.

AusBiotech members are invited to contact Karen Parr, Director Communications, for a copy of the letter and to co-sign it.