Biocom California, the association representing the life science industry of California, issued the following statement in response to the White House’s support of a proposal to waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines. This statement may be attributed to Joe Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom:
"We are very disappointed to hear of the U.S. Trade Representative’s decision to support waiving intellectual property (IP) rights for companies producing COVID-19 vaccines under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The life science industry has played an incredible role in successfully responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and is expanding manufacturing and distribution at a historical scale to ensure global access to vaccines.
This policy is not only unnecessary, as there is no evidence that issues stemming from IP rights have delayed access to vaccines, but it will certainly hinder American innovation. The U.S. is the world leader in biopharmaceutical innovation because it relies on strong IP protections to incentivize research and development. For small companies, much of the value of the company is often predicated on the strength of its IP. Weakening IP protections will undermine the development of new treatments and cures, particularly by these smaller innovative companies.
Suppressing IP rights will undermine the industry’s ability to continue to respond to the ongoing pandemic and may delay access to vaccines in those countries that need it the most. Providing patent protected information does not guarantee that countries will be able to replicate and produce vaccines successfully. Production requires a trained workforce, access to raw materials and existing manufacturing infrastructures that some countries may lack. On the other hand, this policy may weaken existing supply chains and open the door to counterfeit vaccines."
About Biocom California
Biocom California is the largest, most experienced leader and advocate for California’s life science sector. We work on behalf of more than 1,400 members to drive public policy, build an enviable network of industry leaders, create access to capital, introduce cutting-edge STEM education programs, and create robust value-driven purchasing programs.
Founded in 1995 in San Diego, Biocom California provides the strongest public voice to research institutions and companies that fuel the local and state-wide economy. Our goal is simple: to help our members produce novel solutions that improve the human condition. In addition to our San Diego headquarters, Biocom California operates core offices in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, satellite offices in Washington, D.C. and Tokyo, and has a continuous staff presence in Sacramento. Our broad membership benefits apply to biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, genomics and diagnostics companies of all sizes, as well as to research universities and institutes, clinical research organizations, investors and service providers.
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