CEO COVID-19 Task Force Business Roundtable Statement on Administration’s Decision to Support Waiving Important Intellectual Property Protections

May 5, 2021

Washington – Business Roundtable today issued the following statement in response to the Biden Administration’s decision to negotiate waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines: 

“This decision will undermine the global fight to defeat COVID-19, including ongoing efforts to defeat new variants,” said Business Roundtable President & CEO Joshua Bolten. “U.S. companies have worked tirelessly to harness innovation and technology and partnered with governments to combat COVID-19. Waiving intellectual property protections risks progress in defeating COVID-19 and our ability to fight future pandemics.
“Intellectual property protections have enabled the development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines with unprecedented speed that will save millions of lives. There is no evidence that these intellectual property protections impair our common goal to safely scale up production and distribute effective vaccines as quickly as possible around the world. Undermining intellectual property rights for complex vaccines, however, could compromise existing production and result in unsafe and ineffective vaccine production that prolongs the pandemic.
 “Rather than taking steps to weaken intellectual property rights, the United States and other governments should partner with industry to increase licensed and safe production of vaccines and distribute them to the most vulnerable. Governments should also remove export controls and other supply chain barriers that constrain that safe production and distribution of vaccines and focus on the logistics challenges of getting shots into arms.”