Roche chief compares waiver of Covid vaccine patents to East German nationalization – fr

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Roche chief compares waiver of Covid vaccine patents to East German nationalization – fr


Roche chief executive Severin Schwan has warned that waiving patents on the Covid-19 vaccine would be a “disaster”, comparable to the nationalization of drugmakers in East Germany.

Schwan said the US-backed proposal to allow open access to intellectual property for pharmaceutical companies, in an effort to boost vaccine production, would be “counterproductive” and would not solve drug shortages. supply.

The Biden administration’s decision to support a patent waiver proposal on Covid-19 vaccines during the pandemic surprised many and had a negative impact on the share price of vaccine manufacturers.

The United States has sided with countries like India and South Africa, which believe that the suspension of the agreement known as trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights, or travel, could allow more manufacturers to produce vaccines.

But the pharmaceutical industry has sharply criticized the move, saying it is raw material bottlenecks, a congested supply chain and a lack of technical expertise that are limiting the number of vaccine doses, not the number of vaccine doses. intellectual property.

Schwan told the Financial Times that the alternative to spurring innovation was to nationalize an industry, an approach that failed in the former East Germany, once known as “the world’s pharmacy. “.

“We had enough experiences in the 20th century to nationalize the industry and we know what came out of it,” he said.

He accused those behind the plan of trying to “earn brownie points with certain institutions in the short term, even if it is very bad for humanity in the long term.”

“It will be detrimental to my children and grandchildren when I am no longer CEO,” said Schwan.

The original proposal also provided for the waiver of intellectual property rights over other products related to Covid-19, including testing.

Roche does not manufacture vaccines but has played an important role in providing Covid-19 tests and drugs, including its anti-inflammatory drug Actemra, which has been used to treat patients with Covid-19, and in therapy by antibody in Regeneron.

The Dutch government accused Roche last year of building up the recipe needed to make its reagent, which is used for PCR tests, the gold standard for Covid-19 and other viral diseases. Roche denied this and said its reagent was no longer patented and the shortage was caused by a tight supply chain.

Now there was “oversupply” and competition in the market was driving down the price of tests, Schwan added.

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