The phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal giant Pfiz­er, whose Covid-19 vac­cine with Ger­man part­ner BioN­Tech was approved Decem­ber 11 for emer­gency use in the Unit­ed States, has emerged as a vocal oppo­nent of a glob­al effort to ensure poor coun­tries are able to access the vac­cine. In Octo­ber, India and South Africa put for­ward a pro­pos­al that the World Trade Orga­ni­za­tion (WTO) pause enforce­ment of patents for Covid-19 treat­ments, under the organization’s intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty agree­ment, ​Trade-Relat­ed Aspects of Intel­lec­tu­al Prop­er­ty Rights,” or TRIPS. Now sup­port­ed by near­ly 100 coun­tries, the pro­pos­al would allow for the more afford­able pro­duc­tion of gener­ic treat­ments dur­ing the dura­tion of the pan­dem­ic. As wealthy coun­tries hoard vac­cine stocks, and one study warns a quar­ter of the world’s pop­u­la­tion won’t get the vac­cine until 2022, the pro­pos­al — if approved — could poten­tial­ly save count­less lives in the Glob­al South.

Read more at In These Times.