Chapter 1: The COVID-19 TRIPS Waiver and the WTO Ministerial Decision
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In October 2020, India and South Africa submitted an unprecedented proposal to the WTO, calling for the partial suspension of the TRIPS Agreement to facilitate the ‘prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19’. This chapter traces the TRIPS waiver debate from the submission of the original proposal to the final adoption of the Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement at the Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva in June 2022. The chapter further evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of this newly adopted decision, comparing it with the earlier waiver proposal. It concludes by offering suggestions for future actions that WTO members on both sides of the waiver debate could take to help combat COVID-19 and future pandemics.