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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Weakening the IP framework will jeopardise health security

Health Industry Hub | June 10, 2022 |
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The associations representing the global biopharmaceutical industry* reaffirm their position that weakening the intellectual property (IP) framework as proposed in the “Quad compromise” is unnecessary and harmful to innovation.

An IP waiver does not address inequitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and will put global health security at risk. It will undermine innovation and industry’s ability to partner, invest at risk, and respond quickly to future pandemics.

Industry has worked around the clock, taking a “business NOT as usual” approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing significant resources to push the boundaries of science, develop workable solutions and secure the capacity to scale up manufacturing once solutions were found, while at the same time ensuring patients would continue to receive existing medicines. This resulted in the fastest ever vaccine development and authorisation (in just 326 days).

Despite these strides in science and manufacturing, for the past 18 months, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Member States have been discussing various ways to weaken the IP framework. To this day, there is no evidence that IP has been a barrier to COVID-19 vaccine production or access, nor acknowledgment of the critical role IP has played in the research, development, and production of novel, safe, and effective vaccines and therapeutics.

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The biopharma associations said in a statement “During this pandemic, there have been many lessons learned that can improve equitable access for future pandemics. We must redouble our collective efforts to achieve health equity, while ensuring health systems and delivery infrastructure are strengthened. COVID-19 vaccines and treatments were only possible because of decades-long investment in research and an enabling IP framework that encouraged swift, voluntary partnerships across the private, public, and academic sectors.

“The TRIPS waiver discussion lacks evidence and the IP framework has fallen victim of political posturing. This week, as the WTO meets for the 12th Ministerial Conference, leaders must keep in mind that weakening the IP framework will jeopardise global health security. A much better approach is to focus on the real challenges to COVID-19 vaccine access including removing trade barriers, addressing distribution challenges, strengthening healthcare systems, and partnering to drive innovation and access.”

*International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, International Council of Biotechnology Associations, Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and Vaccines Europe


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