White House Supports Waiving COVID-19 Vaccine Patent Protections
Sharing Information Worldwide
Earlier this week President Joe Biden showed support for waiving the patent protections on COVID-19 vaccines. The World Trade Organization (WTO) had called on the US to suspend some of the intellectual property protections on vaccines in an effort to get more people in developing nations immunized against COVID-19, but the US had opposed those calls until now.
The White House’s announcement means drug makers like Pfizer (PFE), BioNTech (BNTX), and CureVac (CVAC) may have to share information about their effective vaccines. After Biden voiced his support for lifting patent protections, the European Union and China signaled they might be willing to follow suit.
Controversy Surrounds Vaccine Patents
There are strong opinions the debate surrounding vaccine patent protections. United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the pandemic calls for “extraordinary measures,” and the Biden Administration still believes strongly in protecting IP rights. Defenders of IP rights are often willing to grant exceptions under unique circumstances for the greater good.
Vaccines have been very lucrative for drugmakers. Take Moderna (MRNA) as one example: it recently posted its first-ever quarterly profit driven by sales of its COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna also raised its full-year forecast for vaccine sales.
Drugmakers say lifting patent protections will cause more harm than good. They argue it will create vaccine development confusion between public and private entities, which could “weaken already strained supply chains” and spur a “proliferation of counterfeit vaccines.”
The Path Forward is Unclear
The vaccine makers’ stocks were under pressure after Biden made his announcement. The Biden Administration plans to lobby other countries to back its position.
It will be some time before a final decision takes place, and it is not yet entirely clear how vaccine companies will be impacted. WTO members need to figure out how the drug companies will share the IP needed to increase supplies of COVID-19 vaccines. EU officials warn negotiations at the WTO could last for months and potentially years.
Please understand that this information provided is general in nature and shouldn’t be construed as a recommendation or solicitation of any products offered by SoFi’s affiliates and subsidiaries. In addition, this information is by no means meant to provide investment or financial advice, nor is it intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision or recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Keep in mind that investing involves risk, and past performance of an asset never guarantees future results or returns. It’s important for investors to consider their specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile before making an investment decision.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. These links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement. No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this content.
Communication of SoFi Wealth LLC an SEC Registered Investment Adviser
SoFi isn’t recommending and is not affiliated with the brands or companies displayed. Brands displayed neither endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks and service marks referenced are property of their respective owners.