Press Release

PhRMA Statement on WTO TRIPS Intellectual Property Waiver

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 5, 2021) – Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) president and CEO Stephen J. Ubl made the following statement after the United States Trade Representative expressed support for a proposal to waive patent protections for COVID-19 medicines:

“In the midst of a deadly pandemic, the Biden Administration has taken an unprecedented step that will undermine our global response to the pandemic and compromise safety. This decision will sow confusion between public and private partners, further weaken already strained supply chains and foster the proliferation of counterfeit vaccines.

“This change in longstanding American policy will not save lives. It also flies in the face of President Biden’s stated policy of building up American infrastructure and creating jobs by handing over American innovations to countries looking to undermine our leadership in biomedical discovery. This decision does nothing to address the real challenges to getting more shots in arms, including last-mile distribution and limited availability of raw materials. These are the real challenges we face that this empty promise ignores.

“In the past few days alone, we’ve seen more American vaccine exports, increased production targets from manufacturers, new commitments to COVAX and unprecedented aid for India during its devastating COVID-19 surge. Biopharmaceutical manufacturers are fully committed to providing global access to COVID-19 vaccines, and they are collaborating at a scale that was previously unimaginable, including more than 200 manufacturing and other partnerships to date. The biopharmaceutical industry shares the goal to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible, and we hope we can all re-focus on that shared objective.”

About PhRMA

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested nearly $1 trillion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $83 billion in 2019 alone.

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