“This is one of the main moral issues of our time,” said Representative Ro Khanna, Democrat of California. “Denying other countries the possibility of making their own vaccines is just cruel.”
Katherine Tai, Mr Biden’s trade representative, has held more than 20 meetings with various stakeholders – including global health activists, pharmaceutical executives, members of Congress, Dr Fauci and philanthropist Bill Gates – these past few weeks to try to chart the way forward. .
“Ambassador Tai reiterated that the top priority of the Biden-Harris administration is to save lives and end the pandemic in the United States and around the world,” Ms. Tai’s office said Monday in a statement. carefully crafted release, after discussing the proposed waiver with the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization, a branch of the United Nations.
In a letter to Ms. Tai last month, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a commercial group, warned against granting a “license to other countries – some of which are our economic competitors – to empty our base. biotechnology, exporting jobs abroad and undermining incentives to invest in these technologies in the future. “
One of the pharmaceutical industry’s fears about a patent waiver for coronavirus vaccines is that it could set a precedent that would weaken its intellectual property protections for other drugs, which are central to how she earns money.
“The pharmaceutical industry is extremely protective of its intellectual property,” said Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “This type of fierce resistance is a reflex of the pharmaceutical industry.”
It is not clear, however, that such a decision in the unique circumstances of the pandemic would have implications for the protection of intellectual property for other treatments after the coronavirus crisis, industry researchers have said. .