[Ip-health] Daniel Takash: Refill America's reservoir of goodwill with vaccine know-how

Luis Gil Abinader luis.gil.abinader at keionline.org
Sat Feb 27 08:14:14 PST 2021

Link to the full piece:


The traditional justification for protecting pharmaceutical IP rights and
the need to encourage a healthy return for drug manufacturers by
guaranteeing legal exclusivity fails miserably in the current pandemic.
First, there simply aren’t enough doses to go around right now, and there
won’t be if we rely only on currently licensed manufacturers. Supply must
be expanded dramatically, and the only way to do that is to lower the legal
barriers artificially created by intellectual property laws.

Second, legal exclusivity isn’t the only way to guarantee a healthy return
on research and development. Large transfer payments work. Operation Warp
Speed is proof of this, as are the hundreds of millions of dollars of NIH
spending in the decades before the current outbreak researching


While pharmaceutical manufacturing cannot turn on a dime, analysis from
Knowledge Ecology International’s Luis Abinader found that vaccine delivery
can begin about six months after the beginning of technology transfer. If
current trends continue, billions of people may not have access to a
vaccine until 2022, making time of the essence.


Tahir Amin of the Institute for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge described
the current reluctance to relax or suspend COVID-related IP rights as “an
old, quasi-colonial economic order that disadvantages poor countries,” and
he’s not wrong. These laws hamper the development of pharmaceutical
industries abroad and impose wealthy nations' legal regime onto poorer
ones. If the Biden administration wants to repair the United States’ global
image, it can do so by releasing the knowledge that has already been paid
for many times over. Such a move will, in turn, pay for itself many times
over- in lives, money, and goodwill.

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