Thursday, June 10, 2021 | 1:00 – 2:30PM (ET)
In the past 18 months, pharmaceutical manufacturers developed, tested, and rolled out effective COVID-19 vaccines at an historically unprecedented pace. Manufacturing and delivering vaccines to some 7.8 billion people worldwide, however, has reignited tensions about the role of intellectual property in medicine. On one side is the argument that public funding for biomedical research made the new vaccines possible and that IP protections should be waived to increase supplies and speed vaccine distribution, especially in poorer nations. On the other side is the argument that pharmaceutical companies and investors risked billions of dollars to develop, test, and ensure safe manufacturing of the vaccines. IP protections are thus necessary to recoup R&D investments, maintain vaccine quality and safety, and incentivize developing future drugs and vaccines.
This panel will explore the legal and policy debate regarding patents on vaccines, including discussing IP waivers, compulsory licensing proposals, and the role of the WTO’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement. How risky is vaccine development? What is protected by vaccine patents? What role do US and EU patents play for international vaccine manufacturing and distribution?
Opening Historical Perspective
• Arthur Daemmrich, Director, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
• Dan Laster, Director, Washington State COVID-19 Vaccine Action Command and Coordination System (VACCS) Center
• Arti K. Rai, Elvin R. Latty Professor of Law and co-Director, Duke Law Center for Innovation Policy
• Eric Aaronson, Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel, Intellectual Property, Pfizer Inc.
• Sean O'Connor, Professor of Law & Executive Director, Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School