Spain supports patent suspension on vaccines, but considers “this is not enough”

Publication: Thursday, May 6, 2021 9:31 PM

The Spanish government has shown its intention to transfer to the European Social Summit, which begins this Friday, proposals for the suspension of patents for vaccines against the coronavirus.

In a statement, they point out that the temporary suspension of patents “opens the way” although it warned that “the exemption alone is not enough to guarantee access to developing countries”.

As reported by Moncloa, the temporary suspension “may take some time to approve and, in the meantime, drug companies need to be flexible in speeding up voluntary licensing.” The government also stressed that it was necessary to “strengthen the transfer of knowledge and technology, increase the global production of vaccines and accelerate their distribution throughout the planet”.

At this point, the executive explained that a proposal has just been released in the form of an “ non-paper ” which addresses these elements and which the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, will present to the European Social Summit which starts this Friday. in Porto.

What does it mean to grant patents?

This proposal would mean the temporary suspension, perhaps until the end of the pandemic, of patent rights for this type of serum. In other words, the manufacturing formulas of these COVID-19 drugs could be freely copied without having to pay for their use. In this way, there could be several laboratories and companies dedicated to developing new doses of a certain vaccine.

These rights are provided for in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Patents are normally valid for 20 years, although it is not necessary for a pharmaceutical company to wait until this period has elapsed to negotiate bilateral agreements. Something that has already been done with anti-HIV drugs.

WHO considers that this could help increase production, but science broadcaster Déborah García warned on LaSexta that “it will be useless to reveal the recipe for the vaccine, if most laboratories do not have enough experience, network of suppliers, logistics and production capacity. “. In addition, he stressed that the production of this type of drug is difficult because “complex and innovative technologies are used which are available for very little and require resources, expert personnel and specific facilities”.

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