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The latest: What they are saying: Importance of intellectual property protections to combat COVID-19

Tom Wilbur   |     July 2, 2020   |   SHARE THIS

America’s biopharmaceutical companies are committed to COVID-19 treatment and vaccine research and development (R&D). Reliable IP protections have helped drive innovation and enhance patient access to breakthrough therapies. Innovators are also relying on these strong protections to discover new medical advances that will keep patients healthy during this pandemic and after.

Experts continue to highlight the importance of strong IP protections that encourage innovators to develop new COVID-19 solutions. Here are some of their thoughts:

  • “I think IP is a fundamental part of our industry and if you don’t protect IP, then essentially there is no incentive for anybody to innovate.” – Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, in Independent
  • “Our best minds, working on the best solutions to speed treatments and cures to the public are all a result of a strong and consistent IP framework. If we are serious about finding workable COVID-19 treatments, government should be protecting innovation and removing regulatory barriers that cause treatments to be delayed or scuttled.” – Gerard Scimeca, attorney and co-founder of Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, in TownHall
  • “Front and center in this fight is a silent partner—strong intellectual property protections—a cornerstone of the American tradition... IP is more important than ever and its benefits are even greater. To truly fight back, we need millions of dollars’ worth of private sector research, manufacturing, and distribution know-how… Patents prevent good ideas from being stolen; they help formalize developing economies by encouraging cooperation between government and the private sector; they encourage increased investments in biomedical and biopharmaceutical research; and they reward the hard work of inventors and creators everywhere ensuring not only that better music and movies are on the way, but that better medicines are too.” – Thomas Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in Above the Fold
  • “There does not appear to be any evidence that IP has been a barrier to access to vaccines, treatments or cures…This is not the time to undermine the IP system. The incentive framework which underpins the system is still relevant and is particularly necessary for companies that undertake costly and risky investments involved in the search for the COVID-19 vaccine. This would not be possible if a thriving innovation ecosystem built on strong IP incentives were absent.” – Tan Tee Jim, senior counsel with an active practice in intellectual property, in The Straits Times
  • “The United States recognizes the importance of access to affordable, safe, high-quality and effective health products and the critical role that intellectual property plays in incentivizing the development of new and improved health products.” – United States objection letter to the World Health Organization in Financial Times

Strong and reliable IP protections support America’s robust innovation ecosystem by promoting innovation and affordability for patients who rely on new treatments and cures, like those in development to treat COVID-19. America’s biopharmaceutical companies remain committed to ensuring that treatments and vaccines developed for COVID-19 are available to all who need them. For more information on the importance of IP rights, visit our IP page and stay tuned for our next IP Explained post.

Tom Wilbur

Tom Wilbur is Director of Public Affairs at PhRMA focusing on federal advocacy priorities including Medicare and intellectual property. Prior to joining PhRMA, Tom worked in politics and on Capitol Hill, most recently responsible for communications and strategy for U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Tom is a proud Michigander and outside of the office enjoys reading, running, hiking, golfing, live music, and spending time with family and friends.

Topics: Research and Development, Intellectual Property, IP Explained

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