The Lancet  |  April 2, 2022

In May, 2021, US President Joe Biden’s administration agreed to a WTO waiver only for COVID-19 vaccines. Extending coverage to include therapeutics and diagnostics, as favoured by WHO and health experts, would be “much more difficult”, top WTO diplomats told The Lancet. Lawrence O Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, told The Lancet that any deal to add therapeutics and diagnostics would face “massive pushback” by US pharmaceutical companies and that there would be an enormous lobbying effort. He noted that Biden has been more resolute than his predecessor in trying to be a global citizen to ensure affordable access but added that it would be “an enormous uphill battle politically, and particularly Congress would have fierce opposition to it defending big pharma”.

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