The German Chemical Industry Association (VCI; Verband der Chemischen Industrie) strongly welcomes the German government’s decision to oppose the revocation of patent protection for COVID-19 vaccines, thereby averting fundamental negative consequences for Germany as a center of innovation.
“We strongly warn against setting a precedent that would weaken intellectual property protection for innovations. Such a political breach of the dam would unleash a surge of devastating economic and psychological effects for innovative research and product development in our country—and not just in the pharmaceutical sector,” stresses VCI CEO Wolfgang Große Entrup. “They would shake the confidence of science and industry that working on innovative projects within a secure framework can be planned and will pay off. Socialism is the wrong approach to encourage entrepreneurial courage and start-ups that focus on new ideas for better products and processes.”
According to the VCI, lifting patent protection will not speed up the global supply of vaccines or the fight against the pandemic. Production capacities could not be created overnight at arbitrary locations. It needs know-how, skilled workers, established supply chains, and high-tech ingredients to produce the serum locally. This combination is currently only available to a limited extent, according to the VCI.
In addition, the VCI points out another fact: To date, the EU has exported more than 200 million doses of vaccine to the world despite patent protection, much of it from German production. The U.S., which has brought a release of patent protection for COVID-19 vaccines into the discussion, has not provided other countries with a single ampoule of vaccine for protection against COVID-19 to date, according to current knowledge. A ban on exports remains in effect. As a result, 57 % of U.S. citizens have already been able to receive at least one vaccination.
Große Entrup’s conclusion on the discussion about lifting patent protection: “Companies are investing billions in research and development of new products because they can assume that they will be able to recoup their investments through patents. Instead of overexploiting the research field, it needs fertilizer and political attention.”
- Translation of: Diskussion über die Patentfreigabe zu Corona-Impfstoffen, Dammbruch am Innovationsstandort Deutschland verhindern, VCI-Pressrelease May 7, 2021. (Accessed May 7, 2021)