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U.S. Lawmakers Urge Germany to Endorse Waiving Patent Protections for COVID-19 Products

July 15, 2021

Nine House Democrats sent a letter to the German ambassador to the U.S. this week, pressing the country to change its stance on a controversial World Trade Organization (WTO) proposal to temporarily waive patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines and medicines.

“We are troubled by the European Union’s continuing opposition to this initiative, which we understand is a position led by Germany,” said the lawmakers, who asked to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel while she is visiting Washington, D.C., this week for talks with President Biden.

Germany has been a staunch opponent of the proposal introduced by South Africa and India, which has been endorsed by the U.S. It would allow WTO members to refuse to grant or enforce patents and other intellectual property rights for COVID-19 products until mass vaccinations against COVID-19 are completed.

The letter was signed by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), Lloyd Dogget (Texas), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.), Jesus Garcia (Ill.), Andy Levin (Mich.) and Angie Craig (Minn.).

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