Vaccines

Biden Administration Should Absolutely Reject Patent Waivers for COVID-19 Vaccines

The pharmaceutical industry is on track to supply enough doses to vaccinate 7 billion people this year.

|

Pressure is mounting on President Joe Biden to waive intellectual property rights protections for COVID-19 vaccines. A coalition of developing countries led by India and South Africa are pushing the World Trade Organization to suspend patent rights to the vaccines, arguing that doing so will enable them to get more shots to poor people across the globe. Progressives in the U.S., such as Senators Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) are arguing that suspending the patents is a moral imperative.

However, suspending patents is not a moral imperative, it's moral grandstanding and would do nothing to get the vaccines faster to the people who need them.

The World Health Organization lists fewer than 25 countries capable of manufacturing any vaccines whatsoever, much less the novel and highly complex COVID-19 vaccines.

"For the industry, this would be a terrible, terrible precedent," said Geoffrey Porges, an analyst for the investment bank SVB Leerink to The New York Times. "It would be intensively counterproductive, in the extreme, because what it would say to the industry is: 'Don't work on anything that we really care about, because if you do, we're just going to take it away from you.'"

Just lifting patent protection would do nothing to actually enable most poor countries to ramp up production of these vaccines, and it would discourage companies from continuing to make them now and in the future.

If all goes well, the vaccine makers are on track to supply enough COVID-19 vaccine to inoculate 7 billion people by the end of this year. It would be much more helpful for progressives to put aside their vendetta against the pharmaceutical companies and instead concentrate on figuring out the logistics of getting vaccines to people in poor countries.

NEXT: Federal Regulators Require Rent Collectors To Lie About the CDC's Illegal Eviction Moratorium

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “The pharmaceutical industry is on track to supply enough doses to vaccinate 7 billion people this year.”

    Progressives don’t care about the consequences of their policies. They want to force these companies to sacrifice their profits, and forced sacrifice to progressives is the end in itself–especially if its a company that makes its profits on healthcare.

    Here’s another example of the same thing: China and India have more in the way of fossil fuel fired power plants under construction than we could possibly close, but progressives want us to close ours anyway–because forced sacrifice is an end in itself.

    Progressives are like suicide bombers. The appeal in their twisted minds isn’t the consequences of the bombing itself so much as it’s the admiration we’re all supposed to feel for people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for a cause.

    Being a progressive is all about using the coercive power of government to force us to make sacrifices for what they say is the common good, and those vaccine companies are being selfish–which is the opposite of making sacrifices for the common good.

    1. JOB FOR USA Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and its earnings are much DDS better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
      on this page…..VISIT HERE

    2. Crazy. What kind of worm lives in your brain Ken?

      1. Religion

    3. Well if the majority of citizens think that pharmaceutical companies should give up their patents then it’s just representative democracy for the legislators to enact those laws. To suggest that legislators actually use their brains in order to vote independent of whatever batshit crazy things voters think is elitist and authoritarian. Geesch, Ken, stop being such a fucking elitist prig.

      1. “Well if the majority of citizens think that pharmaceutical companies should give up their patents then it’s just representative democracy for the legislators to enact those laws.

        It’s telling that you don’t know anything about the proper purview of democracy–even after this was explained to you this morning. If you hadn’t had this explained to you this morning, I might think it was a simple ignorance problem, but I’m starting to suspect you just can’t understand what you read.

        Here’s a hint, on the one hand, the First Amendment starts out, “Congress shall make no law” because other people’s rights to speech, the press, and religion shouldn’t be subjected to a popularity contest in a free society. In other words, that’s outside the proper purview of democracy.

        On the other hand, declaring war, setting the rules of naturalization, ratifying treaties, and imposing taxes are specifically enumerated powers of Congress–because if the president could inflict those things on the American people without our consent by way of our representatives in Congress, we wouldn’t be living in a free society. Thus, they are within the proper purview of democracy.

        For that reason, within the proper purview of democracy, there is nothing wrong with elected representatives representing the views of the people who voted for them. In fact, they’re more or less expected to do so in a free society.

        You know what else is necessary for a free society to function properly?

        “No person shall be . . . . deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

        —-Fifth Amendment

        In a free society, the government can’t simply take your property away–just because politicians want it or just because it’s popular. In order to take your property away in a free society, the government needs to take those people to court and respect their due process rights.

        I know it’s very hard for progressives to understand that our rights exist regardless of whether 51% of the people want to violate them, and that’s another reason why progressives are America’s most horrible people.

        P.S. You know who else wanted to deprive people of their property because they were unpopular?!

        1. These vaccines require an energy infrastructure, transportation system and temperature control? Confiscating property, and Biden just did it.

    4. unreason’s garbage website is so glitchy now.

      I barely even visit this dumpster fire anymore. Too many civil war 2.0 things in the works.

      Pussies like bailey still discussing the democrat hysteria called kungflu.

      I laugh every time the commies in the media discuss states like commifornia and their threat levels as if Georgians have any idea what their lockdown colors mean or care. Were enjoying restaurants, parties, and family get-togethers without mask requirements or lockdowns.

      Poor commies. Add in census 2020 results that democrats inflated blue state numbers… hahaha democrats are so desperate.

  2. As I recall Lizzie Warren also thinks universal childcare is infrastructure and a moral imperative.

    We are approaching Logan’s Run.

  3. Maybe we should wait until the vaccines have been approved by the FDA?

    You know, REALLY approved, not just for emergency use only?
    Perhaps a scientific study of long term effects?
    Perhaps a scientific study of effects on fertile women and their offspring?
    Perhaps a scientific study on children?
    Perhaps a scientific study on who is John Galt?

  4. The vaccine took 3 days to come up with. So it’s not like they have to recoup decades of research

    Beyond that, patent (and IP in general) laws are dubious at best.

    1. Said the guy who never invented anything.

    2. > The vaccine took 3 days to come up with. So it’s not like they have to recoup decades of research

      It took 3 days because the technology had been in development for decades.

      Moderna burned cash for 10 years before Covid came along.

      1. Yes and they were already working on SARS so all they had to do was modify it.

  5. When the pharmaceutical companies refund the millions they received from the US government for development of the vaccines, they’ll have standing to weigh in on the waiver.

    1. The us government was the customer.

      1. They paid for more than just the product. They paid for the entirety of distribution as well. And one could argue marketing. Etc.

    2. They delivered the vaccines in exchange for the money.

    3. So what you’re saying is that if they had told the US government, “No, we’re not taking your money to develop a vaccine LOL,” you’d be fine with it? Or would you be bitching that these greedy companies wanted the entire world to die?

  6. Look how cute the commies at unreason are trying to act like el presidente biden is president of the USA. El presidente biden is in charge of the commie side in american civil war 2.0. We will see how things shake out for democrats.

  7. Krystal and Saagar from the Rising seem to disagree with you Ronald. Would love to see you three debate this topic.

  8. “So what you’re saying is that if they had told the US government, ‘No, we’re not taking your money to develop a vaccine LOL,’ you’d be fine with it?”

    Absolutely.

    In point of fact, at least one company (Pfizer) DIDN’T accept the research funding. So if “intellectual property” wasn’t an invalid anti-concept in the first place, I’d be on Pfizer’s side vis a vis any “waiver.”

    But again, if “intellectual property” wasn’t an invalid anti-concept in the first place, the IP on products developed with US taxpayer money should belong to to the taxpayers, presumably via their putative “representatives.”

    1. So if “intellectual property” wasn’t an invalid anti-concept in the first place

      Magnificent circular reasoning there.

      1. Logic’s not your strong suit, is it?

  9. One of the few things the government got right. Now if we can just get more people to roll up their sleeves maybe we can get our lives back.

  10. Biden just did it 2:40MT. Patent and intellectual property reform.

    This morning the administration killed the independent contractor model of business.

    Yesterday they banned efficient air conditioning and refrigerants.

    What’s next, probably financial transaction “FEES”

    1. “This morning the administration killed the independent contractor model of business.”

      Really? The independent contractor model of business didn’t exist until the Trump administration proposed a rule that the Biden administration is now not going to implement? I had no idea that I wasn’t an independent contractor for the last 20 years because no such thing existed.

  11. WAIT, Jacobin and Democracy Now media assured the world that the socialist vaccines would save the global working poor.
    https://www.bloombergquint.com/politics/world-s-most-vaccinated-nation-reintroduces-curbs-as-cases-surge
    Seychelles received the Chinese vaccine. Are the progressives admitting that communism has failed?

  12. “‘Don’t work on anything that we really care about, because if you do, we’re just going to take it away from you.'”

    I would tend to agree. However, how much of our tax money went to the pharma industry to produce them? Are they going to pay us back with the profits they’re going to make from it?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.