France "is delivering" with 60m vaccine donations - Foreign Minister

COVID-19 – Lifting of patents on COVID-19 vaccines – Reply by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the Senate (excerpts)

Paris, 16 June 2021

We’re absolutely convinced of the need to make the vaccine a global public good. And this goal requires a number of conditions: first of all, financial contributions – we’re delivering – and donations, where we’re delivering too and demonstrated this again through the President’s intervention at the G7 meeting in Cornwall. It’s not just words: 60 million donations [of doses]. I’d like to tell you, coming back from Africa and having confirmed with a number of countries France’s ongoing cooperation, that for all the African leaders these aren’t just words – maybe for you, but not for them. (…)

Regarding South Africa and India, we’re in discussion with them, including in South Africa, to prepare to establish vaccine-factory projects in Africa, especially in South Africa and Senegal.

The aim is to ensure that all the factors preventing the global distribution of all the vaccines, and global immunity for all the world’s citizens, can be lifted as quickly as possible. The preventive factors are, first of all, export-linked. I’ve clearly noticed that until now the United States of America, while being in favour of lifting patents, hasn’t been in favour of lifting export processes. This scenario seems to be changing since last weekend’s meeting, and so much the better.

As regards patents, we’ve always been in favour of intellectual property not being an obstacle to the distribution of vaccines. That’s still our approach. And we’ve noticed that within the WTO and WHO, the necessary provisions exist today to avoid any monopolization of patents by pharmaceutical production companies. It’s simply about implementing this. The European Union has just made a proposal to this effect. We’d like it to be implemented within those bodies – I hope with the support of the United States of America, which mustn’t make do with mere declarations but also proposals for action./.

Published on 18/06/2021

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