Where Is The IP?
The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have done a lot of work so far. As United States companies, they have helped the country make its way to achieving herd immunity. As the first mRNA vaccine, it holds a lot of value, and we’ve seen this in action with Pfizer reporting that the vaccine generated 3.5 billion dollars in revenue, with the number projected to get much bigger. However, these vaccines aren’t getting to the developing world, where variants are continuing to spread, so developing countries have continued to ask to waive intellectual property rights on the vaccine.
Intellectual property, or IP, are creations of the mind, with the most popular being patents, copyrights, and trademarks. In the case of Pfizer and Moderna, their intellectual property is a patent. A patent prevents others from copying and selling an invention, which in this case is the vaccine itself. What developing countries are looking for is a waiver of the patent so manufacturers in the country can produce it and give it to their citizens, instead of waiting for delayed shipments of the vaccine from other countries.
On Wednesday, Biden announced his support for a patent waiver, which came as a surprising announcement. Many Democrats supported the move as it would reduce the global effect of COVID-19 as more countries get vaccinated. More importantly, it prevents variants from having a major effect, which can put COVID out for good. The US vaccines are known to be high quality, and they managed to fix a crazy COVID situation here, so they have the ability. Unfortunately, there are downsides also, specifically for the drug industry. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America wrote that it would lead to counterfeit vaccines and slow down production. Along with this, many of these developing countries lack the necessary technology to manufacture vaccines, due to the mRNA innovation. Like always, the debate is heated, and time will tell whether this happens and the result of it. Do you think that this is a good idea?
I am not a financial advisor and my comments should never be taken as financial advice. Investments come with risk, so always do your research and analysis beforehand.