[Ip-health] Op-ed by the Polish PM in Politico: EU must use every legal tool to boost vaccine production

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Mar 25 00:40:08 PDT 2021


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https://www.politico.eu/article/polish-pm-eu-must-use-every-legal-tool-boost-vaccine-production/

WARSAW TOUGH ON BIG PHARMA: Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki urged
his fellow EU leaders to be tough at their meeting today and make vaccines
a public good. The EU “should make use of the compulsory license
procedure,” Morawiecki wrote in an op-ed for POLITICO. “This allows for
governments to grant companies the right to produce a patented product
without the consent of the patent owner.” That would give EU countries “a
legal basis to buy patents from companies and boost production capacity by
allowing other manufacturers to contribute to the effort,” Morawiecki wrote.

‘Reasonable and necessary’: Morawiecki insisted such a radical move “is a
reasonable and necessary measure” given the circumstances: “After all, the
development of coronavirus vaccines did not come out of nowhere: They are
the result of scientific research fueled by huge public subsidies and
investments. As such, these vaccines are a public good, not the exclusive
property of any one company.”

Stricter controls welcome: The Polish prime minister also backed the
Commission’s proposition for stricter export controls, writing that the EU
“should make the authorization to export vaccines produced in EU countries
dependent on the compliance of vaccine producers to meet their commitments
… The EU negotiated these agreements and so it must execute them.” Read the
op-ed here
<https://www.politico.eu/article/polish-pm-eu-must-use-every-legal-tool-boost-vaccine-production/>
.


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Mateusz Morawiecki's op-ed  follows.

https://www.politico.eu/article/polish-pm-eu-must-use-every-legal-tool-boost-vaccine-production/

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<SNIP>

The second measure, to make use of compulsory licensing, gives EU countries
a legal basis to buy patents from companies and boost production capacity
by allowing other manufacturers to contribute to the effort.

This is a reasonable and necessary measure. After all, the development of
coronavirus vaccines did not come out of nowhere: They are the result of
scientific research fueled by huge public subsidies and investments. As
such, these vaccines are a public good, not the exclusive property of any
one company.

The law provides two important conditions for the use of this measure: It
has to be required by the public interest (in this case, the protection of
life and public health) and it has to be otherwise impossible to use the
patented product or invention. Both of these conditions are met today.


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OPINION

Polish PM: EU must use every legal tool to boost vaccine production

Vaccines are a global public good, not the exclusive property of any one
company.

BY MATEUSZ MORAWIECKI
March 24, 2021 4:54 pm

Mateusz Morawiecki is prime minister of Poland.

WARSAW — In recent days, European officials have pledged they are doing
their utmost to accelerate the production and distribution of COVID-19
vaccines, declaring that “all options are on the table.”

This growing determination on behalf of the European Commission to enforce
contracts with pharmaceutical companies is a good sign, especially as much
of the Continent faces the likelihood of a third coronavirus wave.

But it is not enough. It is time to replace strong words with strong
actions. We must put more effective solutions on the table.

The EU should focus on two main courses of action. First, it should make
the authorization to export vaccines produced in EU countries dependent on
the compliance of vaccine producers to meet their commitments. Second, it
should make use of the compulsory license procedure. This allows for
governments to grant companies the right to produce a patented product
without the consent of the patent owner.

The first solution will allow the European Commission to execute the
contracts it concluded with pharmaceutical companies.

The logistics of vaccine distribution — where the vaccines are shipped, at
what pace and in what order — should not be determined by the interests of
companies or their shareholders, but by tough legislation. It is
unacceptable to put profit over human health and life during a pandemic.
The EU negotiated these agreements and so it must execute them.

The second measure, to make use of compulsory licensing, gives EU countries
a legal basis to buy patents from companies and boost production capacity
by allowing other manufacturers to contribute to the effort.

This is a reasonable and necessary measure. After all, the development of
coronavirus vaccines did not come out of nowhere: They are the result of
scientific research fueled by huge public subsidies and investments. As
such, these vaccines are a public good, not the exclusive property of any
one company.

The law provides two important conditions for the use of this measure: It
has to be required by the public interest (in this case, the protection of
life and public health) and it has to be otherwise impossible to use the
patented product or invention. Both of these conditions are met today.

Vaccines are our most powerful weapons in defeating the coronavirus
pandemic. We must use all available legal tools to ensure that they are
deployed as effectively as possible.

Only if we act together now and in solidarity can we successfully beat back
the virus, show that we are united and provide vaccines to all Europeans.


-- 
Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org


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