Geneva, 5 May 2021 – The decision of the US administration to support a patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines is disappointing. We are fully aligned with the goal to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are quickly and equitably shared around the world. But, as we have consistently stated, a waiver is the simple but the wrong answer to what is a complex problem. Waiving patents of COVID-19 vaccines will not increase production nor provide practical solutions needed to battle this global health crisis. On the contrary, it is likely to lead to disruption; while distracting from addressing the real challenges in scaling up production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally: namely elimination of trade barriers, addressing bottlenecks in supply chains and scarcity of raw materials and ingredients in the supply chain, and a willingness by rich countries to start sharing doses with poor countries.
While the decision of the US administration does not address the real challenges in vaccinating the world, industry will not waver in its commitment to provide safe, effective and quality vaccines and therapeutics. We will continue to leave no stone unturned to further scale up manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines, as no one is safe until everyone is safe. The international intellectual property system has given companies confidence to engage in more than 200 technology transfer agreements to expand delivery on COVID-19 vaccines based on unprecedented partnerships between vaccine industrialized and developing country vaccine manufacturers. The only way to ensure quick scaling up of and equitable vaccine access to all those in need remains pragmatic and constructive dialogue with the private sector.