Biden Confronts Coronavirus Vaccine Patents

President Biden and drugmakers are facing demands from liberal activists and global leaders to suspend intellectual property rights on the vaccines as the pandemic surges. WASHINGTON — President Biden, faced with surging Covid-19 crises in India and South America, is under intensifying pressure from the international community and his party’s left flank to commit to…

Biden Confronts
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Inside the White House, health advisers to the president admit they are divided. Some say that Mr. Biden has a moral imperative to act, and that it is bad politics for the president to side with pharmaceutical executives. Others say spilling closely guarded but highly complex trade secrets into the open would do nothing to expand the global supply of vaccines.

Having the recipe for a vaccine does not mean a drugmaker could produce it, certainly not quickly, and opponents argue that such a move would harm innovation and entrepreneurship and damage America's pharmaceutical industry. Instead, they say, Mr. Biden can address global needs in other ways, like pressing companies that hold patents to donate vast quantities of vaccine or sell it at cost.

For the industry, this would be a terrible, terrible precedent, said Geoffrey Porges, an analyst for the investment bank SVB Leerink. It would be intensively counterproductive, in the extreme, because what it would say to the industry is: Don't work on anything that we really care about, because if you do, we're just going to take it away from you.'

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Mr. Biden's chief medical adviser for the pandemic, said in an interview Monday that the drugmakers themselves must act, either by greatly expanding their manufacturing capacity to supply other nations at an extremely diminished price or by transferring their technology to let the developing world make cheap copies. He said he was agno

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Read original at The New York Times | World

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