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Firms using public funds should share vaccine patents

By Sheji Halima [NAN]


Pharmaceutical companies that used public funds to develop their COVID-19 vaccines should share their patents with firms that would be able to instantly launch vaccine production.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Friday.

“Money that we jointly spent on that goal went to scientists and pharmaceutical firms.

“And now it appears that they fall behind with production or that vaccines are sent outside the EU from European production plants,’’ Morawiecki wrote in a social media post.

“The health and life of our citizens is too important to sacrifice it for the sake of a better financial result for several firms,’’ he said.

Morawiecki said he submitted a proposal on patent-sharing during Thursday’s EU summit.

Poland’s government spokesperson Piotr Mueller clarified that pharmaceutical firms would be compensated for such patent transfers.

In late January, European Council President Charles Michel threatened pharmaceutical companies with action by the bloc’s executive if delays in vaccine deliveries persisted.

Article 122 of the EU treaty allows for emergency measures to be taken “if severe difficulties arise in the supply of certain products.’’

According to an EU official, EU countries could give the European Commission authority to decide on exceptional measures.

The commission could, for example, issue compulsory licenses to some companies, allowing for other producers to produce a vaccine. (Dpa/NAN)


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