Five European countries on Friday rejected the idea of waiving patent rights on coronavirus vaccines, arguing that the focus instead should be on boosting production of the vital jabs.
Leaders of the 27-nation bloc were scheduled to discuss the patent waiver proposal fronted by South Africa and India and backed by the U.S.
French President Emmanuel Macron noted that patent waivers would not work if countries do not have the capability to produce the vaccines.
"What is the current issue? It is not really about intellectual property. Can you give intellectual property to laboratories that do not know how to produce and will not produce tomorrow?" Reuters quotes Macron to say.
"The main issue for solidarity is the distribution of doses," he added, noting that France was working with Germany on the issue.
The patent waiver proposal is aimed at enabling more countries to manufacture the jabs, thus boosting their availability. Its proponents argue that this would add more firepower in the world's fight against the pandemic.
The proposal's opponents however argue that the waivers would not boost production, as the manufacturing process was still too advanced for poorer countries.
(With input from agencies)