WASHINGTON, DC – As the world races to develop and distribute new vaccines and treatments against COVID-19, some members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are attempting to undermine intellectual property (IP) policies that are vital to swift medical innovation, successful distribution of COVID-19 medical treatments and vaccines worldwide, and a robust American workforce.
This week, House Ways and Means Republicans sent a letter to President Biden urging him to make clear the U.S. will continue to promote strong IP protections internationally while assisting developing countries in obtaining the vaccines and treatments they need to fight COVID-19.
- American companies are collaborating unwaveringly to address supply chain and logistical issues and expand manufacturing capacity all over the world, including in developing countries.
- However, waiving IP rights, as some WTO members are working to do, will frustrate ongoing efforts to produce and distribute safe and effective vaccines worldwide.
- American leadership in robust IP policies strengthens the U.S. economy and supports at least 45 million American jobs.
- Ceding America’s leadership and intellectual property would erode our advantages in biomedical research and open the door for China to benefit from American research and development.
In a letter to President Biden, the members wrote:
“Waiving IP rights will only frustrate ongoing efforts to produce and distribute safe and effective vaccines. The challenges to faster vaccine manufacturing are complex and relate to the technical and logistical barriers to rapidly and safely scaling-up production. To address these challenges, American companies are collaborating on an unprecedented scale to share resources and expertise to address supply chain issues and expand manufacturing capacity as quickly as possible. The misguided proposal before the WTO distracts from addressing these manufacturing issues and logistical hurdles, which constitute actual challenges to getting vaccines and therapeutics to people around the world.”
Read the full letter here.