Will Waiving Patents Increase Global Vaccine Supplies?
FEATURING WALDEN BELLO - President Joe Biden, after months of pressure from advocacy groups and developing nation governments, announced that he supports the waiving of intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines. The governments of India and South Africa last October requested that the 1995 TRIPS agreement at the World Trade Organization be suspended for the vaccines so countries can begin mass-producing them. TRIPS stands for the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
While Moderna has announced it would not enforce its patent, other pharmaceutical producers of Covid vaccines such as AstraZenaca and Pfizer have vehemently opposed waiving intellectual property rights even though taxpayers shelled out much of the investment into developing the vaccines. The issue has taken on great urgency as the virus spreads like wildfire across India and other Asian nations. Opponents of waiving the rights claim that the developing world simply does not have access to the expertise, raw materials, or factories needed to mass-produce vaccines on their own. Today we’ll speak with one expert who is pushing back against such arguments.
Read his guest opinion column in the New York Times on May 5th entitled The West Has Been Hoarding More Than Vaccines.
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