[Ip-health] Health Policy Watch: Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Makes It First To Finish Line; United Kingdom Authorizes Today & Rollout Begins Next Week

Luis Gil Abinader luis.gil.abinader at keionline.org
Wed Dec 2 12:22:13 PST 2020


Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Makes It First To Finish Line; United Kingdom
Authorizes Today & Rollout Begins Next Week

Medicines & Vaccines 02/12/2020 • Elaine Ruth Fletcher


Medicines access advocates are quick to point out that despite the hundreds
of millions of dollars in public funds that have been poured into both the
Pfizer BioNTech project, as well as a similar Moderna vaccine, prices of
both that will be charged to governments have remained closely guarded

In addition to the late-stage research grants and loans, the foundational
research into the mRNA vaccine delivery mechanisms was also publicly
supported, access advocates have pointed out. That work, carried out by two
researchers, Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman, at the University of
Pennsylvania, received US government funding, according to an analysis of
the R&D funding by Knowledge Ecology International (KEI).

Karikó and Weissman later licensed their inventions “non-exclusively” to
Moderna and BioNTech RNA,  the company that has been collaborating with
Pfizer for the development of a mRNA vaccine.  But due to its investment,
the US government still holds some rights to six of the 11 patents that
were instrumental in developing the mRNA vaccines of both companies,

KEI’s Thiru Balasubramaniam observed that the transparency of COVID-19
vaccine prices could also emerge as a flashpoint in discussions that will
get underway Thursday among WHO member states, in light of the streams of
public funding that has gone into vaccines development. The member states
are meeting to discuss pharma’s R&D costs and medicines shortages, in the
context of a renewed push to implement the WHO’s Global Strategy and Plan
of Action on Public Health, Innovation, and Intellectual Property.

“President Trump prides himself on being the consummate negotiator. He
wrote ‘The Art of the Deal’; he didn’t get such a good deal here,” observed
Balasubramaniam. Meanwhile, he said, referring to the UK’s approval today:
 “the heirs of Hengist and Horsa are first in the queue.”


More information about the Ip-health mailing list