Last Wednesday, US President Joe Biden announced his intention to suspend the intellectual property of vaccines: Through patents, anyone will be able to produce valuable doses against Covid. Nice trip for the big stars and the pharmaceutical companies doing well in the fight against the virus. Even German company Biontech, a company from Mainz, which produces a Comirnaty vaccine with Pfizer, hasn’t taken it well. Not surprisingly, Chancellor Angela Merkel promptly replied with an iron fist: No “free” patents, woe just to talk about them. From the words, we immediately moved to the facts. So yesterday, a concrete response from the European Union arrived with Germanic traction. Commission Chairperson, Ursula von der Leyen (also German), presented herself at the EU summit in Porto with the new contract signed with Pfizer / Biontech to buy another 1.8 billion doses until 2023.
It is further evidence that the European Union is now focusing exclusively on “mRna-based” vaccines, such as Pfizer / Biontech and Moderna. But it is also proof that vaccines will become our daily life and will remain truly exclusive to those who actually produce them.
Patent liberalization could benefit many countries, including Italy, that want to start their own production. Indeed, Draghi initially welcomed Biden’s proposal with great enthusiasm. It was von der Leyen and Merkel who dashed his hopes. The European Commission president did not turn around: “Vaccines are needed now. The temporary patent exemption does not solve the problem in the short and medium term. What is required is the sharing of vaccines, the export of doses, and investments to increase production. ” On the other hand, the chancellor, during the hours of the Portuguese summit, held a phone call with Ugur Shaheen, CEO of the German company Biontech, a leader in the development of global vaccines against Covid. Then, at the end of the summit, he reiterated his position: “I have made it clear once again that I do not think patent liberalization is the solution to bringing more vaccines to more people, but I do believe that we need creativity and strength from corporate innovation, and that includes patent protection.”
And so the US president’s journey forward is liquidated, the European Union is meeting around Berlin. It attacks the United States and demands that it do likewise and allow the export of vaccines. The 27 are unanimously agreed on this point: “We are the only democracy that exports vaccines massively. We have started and strongly support the Covax initiative – says European Council President Charles Michel, who has not forgiven von der Leyen, the rude Turkish celebrity of the chair – we encourage all our partners to facilitate the export of vaccine-sharing doses in the world as much as possible. Even French Macron has an axis with Germany: “I am very clearly asking the United States to put an end to the export ban, not only of vaccines, but of the components of these vaccines, which hinder their production. The European Union exported 50% of its production, and the United States 5%, to Canada and Mexico.
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