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Tell President Biden to Include Tests and Treatments in the WTO TRIPS Waivers (Church & Society)

December 6, 2022

The global COVID-19 crisis has impacted public health worldwide. While, in the United States, vaccines, tests, and treatment are now widely available, these resources are not as plentiful in many countries – particularly in the global south.

In June 2022, the World Trade Organization (WTO) decided to provide TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) waivers for COVID vaccines. This allowed for more diversified production of, and better access to, vaccines globally.

However, the WTO set a six month deadline (December 15, 2022) to decide whether to extend those waivers to cover tests and treatments as well. That means, right now, an important decision on COVID tests and treatment is being made that can positively impact the health of people across the world.

As United Methodists, we believe that, “Health care is a basic human right.” This includes the belief that, “Countries facing a public health crisis…must have access to generic medicines and patented medicines.” (United Methodist Social Principles ¶162.V)

That is why we must encourage President Joe Biden to support TRIPS waivers for testing and treatment and show The White House how our faith informs our stance on this matter of global public health. 

Call The White House Switchboard today (222-456-1111) and share with them the following message:

“Dear President Biden,

I urge you to support expanding WTO TRIPS waivers to include tests and treatment, as well as vaccines.  As a United Methodist, I believe that health care is a human right (Social Principles, ¶162.V) and that “Countries facing a public health crisis…must have access to generic medicines and to patented medicines.”  In Ezekiel 34:4a, God criticizes the leadership of Israel for failing to care for the weak, “you don’t strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bind up the injured, bring back the strays, or seek out the lost.”  As a result of this lack of leadership, all suffer.

In spite of the surplus of vaccines, tests, and treatments here in the United States, we will all continue to suffer until every single person world-wide has access to the same technologies.  I urge you to use the U.S. negotiating power at the WTO to advocate for expanded TRIPS waivers for tests and treatment immediately.”