A TRIPS Waiver for COVID-19 Medicines is Harmful and Unnecessary

A TRIPS Waiver for COVID-19 Medicines is Harmful and Unnecessary 2023

America’s biopharmaceutical industry relies on strong intellectual property (IP) protections to incentivize the research, development and manufacturing of cutting-edge technologies. Without strong IP protections, modern medical innovation would be significantly stymied.

What is TRIPS?

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is a comprehensive global agreement establishing minimum IP protections. By providing a basic floor for IP standards, the TRIPS agreement seeks to ensure that IP rights are provided and enforced around the world.

TRIPS Waiver for COVID-19

What is happening with TRIPS?

Despite the importance of the TRIPS agreement, WTO members agreed to waive certain commitments to protect IP for COVID-19 vaccines in 2022. Now, the WTO is considering expanding that waiver to COVID-19 treatments. This would have immediate and lasting consequences for global health and America’s competitiveness, economic security and innovation leadership.

Biopharmaceutical innovators are calling on U.S. policymakers to reject an expanded IP waiver, and instead prioritize American patients, workers and innovation. 

Expanding the TRIPS waiver would: 

Jeopardize innovation

Many existing and investigational COVID-19 therapies are also useful for other diseases—ranging from cancer and HIV to autoimmune and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

Weaken American leadership

The United States is the global leader in biopharmaceutical innovation and production and led the way on developing COVID-19 technologies. An IP waiver effectively gives our valuable innovations to foreign entities.

Outsource American jobs

The U.S. biopharmaceutical industry supports 4.4 million American jobs. Forfeiting IP protections on valuable American technology will harm national and economic security and American jobs.

Hurt pandemic preparedness

The global IP system enabled America’s world-leading biopharmaceutical industry to innovate and produce safe and effective vaccines and treatments in record time. The waiver discourages the investment necessary to develop new technologies to combat COVID-19 and future health emergencies