On May 6, 2021, PILMA released the following statement on the far reaching negative impacts of the U.S. signing on to the WTO TRIPS waiver.
May 6, 2021
The U.S. Trade Representative’s decision to support waiving intellectual property protections for the COVID-19 vaccine is a danger to worldwide health and security, the future of innovation and union construction jobs here in the U.S.
There is no evidence that eroding biopharmaceutical intellectual property rights will accelerate global vaccination efforts, especially in places like India where the vaccine is already available. U.S. biopharmaceutical companies are already sharing their intellectual property through licensing agreements with vetted companies to cooperate in the fastest-possible production of vaccines.
Allowing governments to appropriate decades of research and development investment will only deter future innovation and fundamentally alter biopharmaceutical companies’ ability to discover future cures for deadly disease here in America.
The U.S.’ strong intellectual property incentives have resulted in American companies’ investment of billions of dollars in research and development, including the construction of high-quality research and manufacturing facilities that are built by the most highly-skilled union workers. The WTO TRIPS waiver will permanently ship these jobs overseas to countries that do not have the quality that we enjoy in the U.S. There is widespread evidence that lax oversight results in counterfeit production and cross contamination of medicines, further threatening global health.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s decision to sign away U.S. companies’ intellectual property rights is irreversible. It sends a chilling message to innovative industries in all sectors of the U.S. economy, and the millions of Americans whose jobs they support.