For Boosting Global Supply, US Will Support Waiver on Vaccine Patents
India Has Stopped International Export of Vaccine, Using Its Production Plants to Vaccinate Its Population as Cases Surge
The United States has provided its support behind the move for temporarily lifting of the vaccine patents protection for the vaccines developed against the coronavirus infection at the World Trade Organization (WTO). According to the advocates, this move by the United States would likely further improve and increase the global production of the COVID-19 vaccine, but the pharmaceutical firms that are manufacturing the drugs have argued that it will most likely not provide the desired effect.
Patent for vaccine protection
The critics have said that it would strip off the financial rewards from cutting-edge drug-developing companies. This decision has been made by the President of United States, Joe Biden, amid the pressures from the Democrats in his political party for the removal of vaccine patent protection.
While announcing the newly implied policy, the United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai has said that these current times are extraordinary, which calls for extraordinary measures to be taken. She also stated that the United States would now be embarking on negotiating at the World Trade Organization for trying to secure the waiver on vaccine patent, but has given an initial warning that it could possibly take some time.
The countries of South Africa and India were some of the leading voices among the group comprising of 60 countries from around the world, which had lasted for the time period of the past six months, trying to get the vaccine patent that has been set aside.
Around one hundred out of 164 states of the World Trade Organization are in favor of the vaccine patent, and a panel on the intellectual property is scheduled to conduct a discussion on this problem in the upcoming month of June.
If the vaccine patent is approved, according to the supporters of it, the waiver on vaccine patents would most likely allow further production of coronavirus vaccines to surge up, along with providing doses for the antidote at affordable rates for the developing countries throughout the world.
Those nations that are in favor of this move have met with strong opposition from the previous administration of the United States of Donald Trump, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. President Joe Biden had given his proposal for the waiver on vaccine patents during his election campaign for the presidency in the year 2020.
Meaning of intellectual property
The intellectual property actually describes the creation, including inventions of new items, which are protected by using patents, trademarks, and copyrights. These measures prevent the item from being copied by other manufacturers, along with allowing the originators to be rewarded financially.
The patents provide innovating companies a short-term monopoly on their production to help cover up the developmental cost of the product and encourage the firm to invest.
Biotech firms have argued that vaccine patent protection has given incentives for the production of COVID-19 vaccines in a record amount of time.
Waiver of vaccine patents
Many of the developing nations throughout the world have given their argument, saying that there is a regulation that requires the countries to protect vaccine patents along with any other form of intellectual property, as they have become an obstacle in the increased amount of production of COVID-19 vaccines, along with other products that are required in tackling of this coronavirus pandemic.
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called the decision taken by the United States as historic regarding vaccine patents, as it marks a monumental moment in combat against the viral coronavirus infection.
According to the medical non-governmental organization, MSF – Doctors Without borders, have said that this move by Joe Biden would likely increase the sufficiency and timely accessibility of these lifesaving medical tools as the infection transmission rate of COVID-19 has continued to ravage nations throughout the world.
The calling for the vaccine patents came after underdeveloped countries were facing shortages in the amount of vaccine available for administration in their general population to help limit further local transmission of infection among individuals.
It has been pointed out by the MSF that multiple low-income nations where they are operating have been only able to receive 0.3 percent of the total supply of the COVID-19 vaccine globally; meanwhile, the United States is the country that has secured vials of doses to be injected into all of its general population.