In the run up to the World Trade Organisation summit in December 2021, negotiations over a waiver of patents on COVID-19 medical products are entering a crucial stage. The waiver, so far blocked by the European Union, is desperately needed to scale up global production of vaccines to help the world get out of the pandemic. It’s also crucial for ensuring that new coronavirus medicines are accessible and affordable for everyone. Without a waiver on intellectual property (including patents) and technology transfer the world’s poorest people will be priced out. Unfortunately the EU’s policies for getting these medicines on the market – the Therapeutics Strategy – pays no attention to securing global access and affordability.