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The latest: What they are saying: Intellectual property protections vital to incentivize ongoing COVID-19 research and development

Tom Wilbur   |     December 18, 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:

  • “Biopharmaceutical innovation is at the frontlines of developing life-saving COVID-19 treatments, especially in the area of a preventive vaccine. Key to that is ensuring the integrity of intellectual property (IP) rights which facilitate cooperation and the sharing of proprietary data, and technology between competing companies, organizations and countries.” – Code Blue

  • “The COVID-19 crisis has clearly demonstrated that IP has driven and enabled the unprecedented research response leading to the availability of new treatments and vaccines for use in the fight against the pandemic.” – Nathalie Moll, Director General of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, in BioPharma Reporter

  • “Throughout most of the world, and particularly in the United States, patents provide incentives for the development of medicines, including vaccines, and protect the developers’ investments of time and resources. The severity of the COVID pandemic, and the concomitant need for both treatments and vaccines, has increased the need for the U.S. patent system to respond to the disruptions created by the pandemic… Past experience and recent developments suggest that protecting IP for vaccines, therapies and technologies to fight COVID-19 will have a positive impact, and advance the cause of eradicating, or at least treating, and preventing this disease.” – Kevin Noonan, partner at McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP and chair of the firm’s Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals Practice Group, in Pharmaceutical Technology

  • With the protection of intellectual property around the world being more critical than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic, patent protections, especially regarding university and pharmaceutical research, has helped spawn innovation and quicker progress in vaccine R&D. Thus, to ensure the future of innovation, good policies, like the Bayh-Dole Act, are needed to protect the world’s much needed innovative economy.” – Mary Ann Cortese, International Relations Associate at Americans for Tax Reform, in Property Rights Alliance

  • “Statistical evidence shows that countries with robust intellectual property infrastructure produce more life science innovation across the board. Research also shows that countries with weak intellectual property infrastructure not only struggle to attract investment in biopharmaceutical innovation, but also limit consumer access to biopharmaceutical products. That’s why recent calls to strip away intellectual property protections are so dangerous… The bottom line is this: Weakening intellectual property protections, as the WTO waiver proposal would do, will not increase access to the tools we need to fight COVID-19; in fact, they would hinder access to the COVID-19 tools we’ve discovered already, and it will stop the search for new tools right in its tracks. Put simply, weakening intellectual property protections won’t help us, and it will hurt us. Instead, we need to maintain, and even expand, the effectiveness of our global intellectual property system, so we can generate the solutions to get this pandemic under control and be better prepared to face the next one.” – Patrick Kilbride, vice president of international intellectual property for the Global Intellectual Property Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in IP Watchdog

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, Coronavirus

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