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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 7, 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:

  • “Innovations and intellectual property that were already percolating in the scientific community and health industry gave researchers and scientists a head start in developing vaccines for this pernicious disease. Their efforts, based upon prior achievements, lends support to the notion that IP is a critical factor in eliminating the coronavirus.” – Remarks by Laura Peter, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, at the Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund Patent Event

  • “The response to COVID-19 is indissolubly tied to intellectual property. In an increasingly globalized world in which infectious disease pathogens travel faster and wider than before, the development of vaccines, treatments and other forms of medical technology has become an integral part of public health preparedness and response frameworks. The development of these technologies, and to a certain extent the allocation and distribution of resulting outputs, is informed by intellectual property regimes. These regimes influence the commitment of R&D resources, shape scientific collaborations and, in some cases, may condition the widespread availability of emerging technologies.” – Ana Santos Rutschman, Assistant Professor at St. Louis University School of Law, in The Intellectual Property of COVID-19

  • “COVID-19 has really accentuated the need for innovative, lifesaving medicines, but the question of who innovates it, how to pay for that innovation, who receive[s] that life[saving] medicine, and how individuals will pay for it remains the same…And IP is at the forefront of these questions because IP protection drives the innovation that provides the cutting-edge technology to address a pandemic.” – Sandra Leung, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Bristol Myers Squibb, in the Boston College Law School Magazine

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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