Waiver of Patent Rights On COVID-19 Vaccines, In Near Term, May Be More Symbolic Than Substantive

Biden administration

May 6, 2021

On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced its support for a WTO proposal to waive intellectual property protections on COVID-19 vaccines. The goal behind the move is to increase vaccine supplies worldwide. However, many industry insiders say that eliminating patent restrictions won’t automatically lead to an increase in production. For example, as reported in Stat, Moderna has not enforced its COVID-19-related patents for the duration of the pandemic, yet no other manufacturers have stepped up to copy the vaccine. A patent waiver is a valuable first step, but not a cure all, experts say. Patents are just one facet of the complex process of producing vaccines. According to Rajeev Venkayya of Takeda Vaccines, there is a gap in understanding by many who are discussing the proposal.

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