Remove hurdles in access to medicines at affordable prices: Goyal

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday called for the removal of multiple hurdles in access to medicines at affordable prices, which has been created by lopsided WTO rules protecting intellectual property.

Addressing the 10th BRICS Trade Ministers virtual meeting on Thursday, he said the TRIPS Agreement did not envisage a pandemic where demand for vaccines and medicines would come from several countries simultaneously, with the requirement changing at a rapid pace.

Goyal said that IPRs should not block access to critical medicines and other devices required for the treatment of the disease.

According to the minister, the ongoing crisis has exposed the world to vulnerabilities, “forcing us to explore ways to support each other”.

He said that trade can be an engine of reviving growth in such a scenario and this is premised on strengthening of the WTO based on its principles of openness, fairness, transparency, inclusivity, and non-discrimination.

Furthermore, he called for all nations to enhance transparency in their trade and build trust to prevent losing their role as a preeminent trade partner.

Goyal elaborated that for trade to play its part in the recovery process, all the partners must be trustworthy and transparent.

“It is trust and transparency which determines the sustainability of global supply chains and nations must demonstrate their compliance with global rules of trade to remain a part of global trade flow,” he was quoted as saying in a ministry statement.

“Increasingly, nations which trust each other are coming together to build global supply chains with corresponding investments in manufacturing and services,” he added.

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