Column: Biden's plan to waive vaccine patents is good news, but not enough to beat the pandemic

The pharmaceutical industry, which thought it could do no wrong thanks to the COVID-19 vaccines, is taken down a peg by the Biden administration.

5/7/2021 3:15:00 AM

The pharmaceutical industry, which thought it could do no wrong thanks to the COVID-19 vaccines, is taken down a peg by the Biden administration.

The pharmaceutical industry, which thought it could do no wrong thanks to the COVID-19 vaccines, is taken down a peg by the Biden administration.

PrintThe pharmaceutical industry, which thought it had entered the can-do-no-wrong stage of public esteem thanks to its development of COVID-19 vaccines in record time, just got taken down a peg by the Biden administration.On Wednesday, the administration said it supports waiving patent protections for those same vaccines to help combat the pandemic around the world.

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Drugmakers, which were counting on lavish profits from the vaccines, squealed like stuck pigs. Phrma, their leading trade group, called the policy “an unprecedented stepthat will undermine our global response to the pandemic and compromise safety.”This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine TaiAdvertisementThe Biotechnology Innovation Organization, or BIO, called it “a dangerous precedent” and a “myopic decision.”Shares of vaccine companies fell after the announcement Wednesday. Moderna, whose COVID vaccine is the firm’s only commercial product, fell nearly 10%. headtopics.com

On the other side of the discussion was U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, who issuedthe formal announcement. “This is a global health crisis,” she said, “and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures.”

Even some healthcare experts who support the waiver acknowledged that it probably won’t immediately get shots into the arms of people in India and South Africa, two countries that are being overwhelmed by COVID-19 and face a shortage of vaccines.It may even have some downsides. “Vaccines are very complex biological products, very different from other drugs,” says William Moss, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University. “They’re not products that can be made in any facility anywhere.”

Vaccine making requires not merely patent rights, but transfers of know-how related to the intricacies of the process. The consequences of manufacturing mishaps can be dire. “God forbid, if some bad batches are made or contaminated,” Moss says, “that could have a ripple effect on vaccine confidence.”

Many experts are looking to other solutions, such as compulsory licensing of COVID vaccine technology in return for royalty payments.Advertisement Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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Biden team says it supports waiving patent protections on Covid-19 vaccinesThe U.S. said today that it backs waiving patent and other intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines to help expand production of the life-saving shots worldwide.

Biden says he plans to back WTO IP waiver for COVID-19 vaccinesPresident Joe Biden on Wednesday threw his support behind waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, bowing to mounting pressure from Democratic lawmakers and more than 100 other countries, but angering pharmaceutical companies. Bad idea.

Biden Reverses on Vaccine Patent Restrictions in Move that Could Help India with Covid PandemicThe Biden administration has announced that it favors breaking patent protections on Covid-19 vaccines to speed their deployment in combating the global pandemic.

'Lives over profits': Biden backs Covid vaccine patent waiver; flexes U.S. leadershipRachel Maddow looks at the importance of the Biden administration's suspending patents on Covid vaccines to the global fight against the pandemic and talks with Dr. Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer for Partners in Health, about what comes next.

Germany objects to Biden support for COVID-19 vaccine patent waiverBusiness Insider tells the global tech, finance, markets, media, healthcare, and strategy stories you want to know. That photo you guys chose to use though 🤭 Y'all play too much🤭 InsiderIntl Instead of waiving the patent, Governments should “buy” the rights to use the patent to make their own vaccine. This is a win-win approach