U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center, Senior Vice President Patrick Kilbride issued the following statement on developments regarding intellectual property rights at the World Trade Organization.
This proposal is fundamentally misguided and should be rejected. It ignores that the overwhelming problem is not vaccine production, it is last-mile delivery, and it will erode the ability of innovative companies to develop the cure for the next pandemic or global health threat.
Business is delivering on the promise to manufacture safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the whole world. Vaccine production is estimated to reach over 20 billion doses this year, enough for everyone. As of March, over 65% of global population has received at least one dose, and this number is growing every day. Some patients remain hard to reach. Governments and international organizations should avoid political distractions and more quickly achieve comprehensive global vaccination against COVID-19, by focusing on real, practical ongoing issues with last-mile distribution.
Intellectual property waiver proposals distract from the real issues preventing more shots in arms such as logistical hurdles, supply chain bottlenecks, and vaccine hesitancy. Worse yet, dismantling IP rights threatens the licensing arrangements that are enabling rapid global production and technology transfer. Any WTO action undermining IP will harm multiple U.S. industries, who are global leaders in their fields, and who depend on IP protections. Any agreement of this kind would bargain away US competitiveness.