Takeaway: Biden Administration is evaluating option to suspend patent protections on COVID-19 vaccines in hopes to boost global supply.

Last week, the Biden administration reviewed proposals for breaking COVID-19 vaccine patents. As well, Moderna faces similar pressure, and Doctors Without Borders urged an IP waiver at the World Trade Organization, allowing countries to ignore patents until the world reaches herd immunity.

Proposals are still being reviewed, but it is not clear how the U.S. would boost access elsewhere by suspending IP protections on these vaccines. Many argue that manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines require materials that are already in very high demand, and allowing other manufacturers to appropriate the patents would not increase the supply of the starting ingredients, but instead make it harder for the current manufacturers to produce these vaccines.

Aside from the practical concerns are legal questions, as many are unsure how these policies could affect patent law in future medical innovation.

Man Receiving COVID Vaccine.jpg

Photo Credit: www.nytimes.com /2020/12/10/opinion/coronavirus-vaccine-patents.html