The United States officially supports waiving intellectual property protections for covid-19 vaccines for the duration of the pandemic, and it only took 3.3 million confirmed deaths worldwide, over 500,000 of which were Americans. This move comes after covid-19 cases have surged in recent weeks, reaching their highest levels in countries like India where vaccine distribution efforts have struggled.
In a statement Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Katherin Tai said, “The [Biden] Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines.” She warned, however, that negotiations may take some time.
This will potentially make it easier for countries to develop their own covid-19 vaccines and distribute them rapidly. It’s a common-sense, ethical move that will help curb a slew of death and destruction. So, naturally, pharmaceutical companies are opposed to the idea.
From the Washington Post:
The matter centers on a proposal in front of the World Trade Organization that would waive a slew of intellectual property protections on medical products for the duration of the pandemic. The pharmaceutical industry has fought the proposal, arguing that it would weaken drug companies’ existing efforts to rapidly produce billions of vaccine doses.
Dozens of developing countries back the proposal, arguing it will allow them to rapidly produce their own generic vaccines, rather than wait months or years for sufficient doses.
Despite pressure from big pharma and even White House officials who warned that he should focus on covid domestically, Biden appears to have been more motivated by pressure from progressives and the grim state of covid in India, where a sudden surge of cases has left hospitals at capacity, oxygen scarce, and an ever-climbing death toll.
That hasn’t stopped stock market hounds from lamenting the sudden drop in shares for Pfizer and Moderna following the Biden administration’s announcement. And the concern trolls fretting over the future of intellectual property are just getting started.
But imagine seeing your loved one hooked up to a ventilator and giving a fuck.