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EAM S Jaishankar to Visit US to Expedite Vaccine Supply | India News


WASHINGTON: Foreign Minister S Jaishankar will embark on a five-day visit to the United States next week in an outreach aimed primarily at facilitating the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines and smoothing the supply chain wrinkles that it has significantly slowed down the vaccination campaign in India.
The minister is expected to meet with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York and hold talks with his counterpart Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington DC, the Indian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that he will also meet with cabinet members and senior officials from the Biden Administration that deals with the bilateral relationship.
He is also expected to have two interactions with business forums on the economic and Covid-related cooperation between India and the US, amidst a degree of frustration on both sides, despite good intentions, on topics such as the supply of raw materials and the intellectual property issues they have had. put a brake on India’s desire to quickly vaccinate its people.
Although India’s ambassador to the US, Taranjit Sandhu, has held almost daily meetings with CEOs of major pharmaceutical companies, including engagements over the past 48 hours with Moderna CEO Stephane Bance and President and CEO Johnson & Johnson executive Alex Gorsky, there hasn’t been a breakthrough in the legacy. Intellectual property issues that may address New Delhi’s urgent need for more than a billion vaccines, out of more than the modest millions currently being channeled.
Breaking the impasse involving specialty pharmaceuticals that want to retain their proprietary knowledge and profitability requires high-level government intervention, a need that is driving the foreign minister to Washington DC at a time when such visits are rare.
The White House said earlier this week that to date, the United States has provided more than $ 500 million in Covid aid to India, including contributions from the United States federal and state governments, American businesses, organizations, and private citizens. , but his general initiative to effect patent exemptions. it has not found widespread support in Congress.
In a May 20 letter, more than 100 Republican lawmakers expressed concern about the Biden administration’s support for waiving some intellectual property (IP) protections related to Covid-19 vaccines, saying it would serve as a “massive giveaway. “for countries like China. Russia and India.
“It is imperative that we lead the world in increasing global access to Covid-19 vaccines while affirming our nation’s long and storied history of protecting intellectual property to spur innovation. At stake are American jobs, innovation and the health and well-being of the whole world, ”they said in the letter, implicitly endorsing Big Pharma’s position that they would rather increase their vaccine supply than give away the store.
But left-wing lawmakers have repeatedly exposed Big Pharma’s claims about spending money on innovation, without embarrassing us then, by illustrating that they spend far more money on marketing and executive compensation than on R&D.

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