Is waiving IP protection a magic wand to make Covid-19 vaccines quicker and cheaper?
Keywords:Covid-19, intellectual property, patent, vaccines, waiver
The Covid-19 waiver proposal put forward by India and Brazil in October 2020 has stirred public debate over the role of the intellectual property (IP) system. Many countries, including Vietnam, have expressed their support for this initiative. The waiver proponents argued that IP rights, mainly patents, have stalled global vaccination supplies. However, this paper challenges this view arguing that waiving IP rights is not a magic wand to make vaccines cheaper and quicker. Bottlenecks that slow vaccine rollout do not lie with the IP system but with manufacturing capacity, supply chain, and export restrictions. Therefore, instead of discussing the waiver proposal, world leaders should redirect their effort to address trade restrictions and improve global manufacturing partnerships. Countries with a low pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity like Vietnam should start thinking about being more well-prepared for the next pandemic.
Received 24 November 2021; accepted 22 February 2022
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