The U.S. supports efforts to forego global intellectual property protection for Covid-19 vaccines after 175 former heads of state and Nobel Prize winners wrote an open letter last month urging President Joe Biden to revoke the World Trade Organization (WTO) patent rules during the To loosen pandemic.
“This is a global health crisis and the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures,” US Sales Representative Katherine Tai said May 5. “The government is a firm believer in the protection of intellectual property, but supports the removal of this protection for Covid-19 vaccines in the service of ending this pandemic,” she added, promising that America will participate in the WTO negotiations for to achieve this. However, she warned that these discussions “will take some time, given the consensus-based nature of the institution and the complexity of the problems involved”.
The following day, President Emmanuel Macron added his support, saying, “I fully support this opening of intellectual property.” Associated Press. However, Macron pointed out that companies in poorer countries will struggle to make Covid-19 vaccines even if patents are foregone. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries raised similar concerns.
“In the midst of a deadly pandemic, the Biden administration has taken an unprecedented move that will undermine our global response to the pandemic and threaten security,” warned Stephen Ubl, president and chief executive officer of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. “This decision will create confusion between public and private partners, further weaken already tight supply chains and encourage the proliferation of counterfeit vaccines,” he added, claiming that biopharmaceutical manufacturers are fully committed to global access to Covid-19. Use vaccines and work together to an unimaginable extent.
US Biotechnology Innovation Organization (Bio) president and executive director Michelle McMurry-Heath said her organization was “extremely disappointed” with the Biden administration’s decision. Bio strongly encourages the White House to prevent the expropriation of technologies that go beyond Covid-19 vaccines and that could be used in the future to compete with US companies to prevent US companies from “forced technology transfers by foreign governments.” Protect and around Ensure global supply chains for existing facilities are not impeded.
“Unfortunately, the United States has chosen to set a dangerous precedent with these measures,” said McMurry-Heath. “But how we negotiate with the WTO will be critical to mitigating this short-sighted decision and its impact on patients around the world.”
There were similar concerns in the pharmaceutical industry in Europe. Nathalie Moll, director general of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, said not doing it carries the risk of redirecting raw materials and supplies from well-established, effective supply chains to less efficient manufacturing facilities where productivity and quality could be an issue. “It opens the door for counterfeit vaccines entering the supply chain around the world,” she said, noting that the European Parliament voted against the waiver in late April and the European Commission has consistently continued its support for innovation as the key to fighting the pandemic Has .
“If the exemption were approved by the WTO, the waiver would discourage companies from continuing to search for new variants, new diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to fight the coronavirus,” warned Moll. “At the same time, it would not be possible to increase the global capacity to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines.”
According to WTO rules, a consensus among member countries on the issue of not using Covid-19 vaccines is required so that only one member nation can obstruct efforts to facilitate trade rules to protect the technology.