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Waive COVID-19 vaccine patents to help poor countries

/ 05:02 AM May 14, 2021

You do not have to be an academic or intellectual to see the wisdom in this call.

Instead of relying on the ivermectin nonsense, the government should pursue US President Joe Biden’s proposal quickly and on a large scale and release the patents to give poor countries like the Philippines fast access to vaccine patents.

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Mass vaccination is the best prevention. The World Health Organization is not without reason for this proposal. The fact that the big pharmaceutical companies do not like this proposal—I can only think of reasons like “earning money without ifs and buts.”

However, in India, people are dying en masse on the streets and suffocating miserably. Crematoria are overburdened, and relatives burn corpses in public parks without regard to hygiene measures. But who can blame them?

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The profit-making industry makes me mad like hell. The release of the vaccine patents would enable states in poorer parts of the world to manufacture the vaccines that best protect people from the coronavirus. The suspension of patents is essential in order to generate additional momentum in the development of cheap vaccines worldwide. The world is in an extraordinary situation, so extraordinary steps are needed to contain the pandemic everywhere.

By releasing the patents, capitalism is not abolished in principle, but the state intervenes in the economic process to secure a higher goal in an emergency—namely saving as many human lives as possible worldwide. The argument that long-term patent protection is the only way to create an incentive for further investments in research does not work in this case. The vaccines are already great business for corporations, and some have received many millions in government aid. In addition, vaccinations are not the only line of business for these companies.

In any case, the CEOs and shareholders of pharmaceutical companies are the last to have anything to worry about in this situation. People are dying on the streets of Mumbai, not in the mansions of Long Island.

Jürgen Schöfer, Ph.D., [email protected]

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TAGS: COVID-19, patent, vaccine
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