Germany spoke out against the patent waiver of the COVID-19 vaccine. Germany is not alone. Other countries are speaking out against this decision, as well. Germany is a large and influential player in world health. Its support and opposition to this decision will help make the case for more transparency in vaccine manufacturing. Its position is based on the fact that the price per dose is the most sensitive and crucial aspect of the contract between the pharmaceutical industry and governments.
In October of last year, South Africa and India submitted a proposal to the WTO requesting a temporary suspension of COVID-19 vaccine patents. At the time, the developed world was dragging its feet on the matter. However, the EU and the U.S. finally agreed to grant a temporary waiver to the COVID-19 vaccine patents. On March 28, 2022, the World Trade Organization will decide whether to approve the waiver.
While the current outbreak of the COVID virus is already the largest in history, experts warned that winter would be even worse. Despite the current epidemic in the United States, the country is still locked in a vicious cycle of new cases and hospitalizations. The COVID-19 vaccine developed by the German biotechnology firm Moderna is far easier to store, transport, and prepare. This is a major advantage when compared to Pfizer’s version.
Several other countries have joined the chorus of opposition to this decision. Several NGOs have also written letters to Congress, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Both groups are concerned about the implications of this decision. The United States and European Union reached a compromise on the terms of the waiver last month. However, Germany is urging Congress to reject this decision. However, the United States and European Union are unlikely to do this.
Germany is a leading patent location in Europe. One-third of all patent applications filed in Europe originate in Germany. As a result, Germany is a top choice for patent infringement proceedings. It has specialized court locations in Dusseldorf, Mannheim, and Munich. Its opponents fear that the removal of patent protection will result in a potentially dangerous outbreak of the disease and uncertainty, which will damage the innovative power of the pharmaceutical industry.
The EU also imposed a provision requiring drug companies to guarantee the same legal protection for their drugs wherever they are used. However, governments have been trying to restrict exports, and Germany has taken the lead in lobbying the European Commission. In fact, the patent waiver has allowed countries to block vaccine exports. The European Commission has also ruled that member states have the right to block the export of these vaccines.
While this vaccine is still being evaluated, it is an important breakthrough for the field of medicine. While it causes a flu-like illness, the fact that it protects the body from new coronavirus variants makes it an important drug. CDC advisers also recommended its use in the U.S. Despite these concerns, it remains unclear if the COVID-19 vaccine would be effective in preventing new outbreaks of SARS.