TRIPS Waiver

In October 2020, the governments of India and South Africa submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organization requesting that the multilateral body waive intellectual property protections “in relation to prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19,” as provided by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Proponents of the waiver claimed that suspending IP protections for Covid-19 technologies would expand access to these products worldwide, namely vaccines.

Despite the launch of hundreds of private-sector partnerships to ensure access to these products — and ample evidence that vaccine hesitancy and inadequate infrastructure were to blame for any vaccine, treatment, and diagnostic accessibility issues — the World Trade Organization, with the support of the Biden administration, agreed to suspend the TRIPS Agreement for Covid-19 vaccines in June 2022.

The World Trade Organization was set to decide whether to extend that waiver to Covid-19 diagnostics and therapeutics in December 2022, until the Biden administration announced it would support an extension of that decision deadline and charged the United States International Trade Commission with completing an investigation into the utility of expanding the waiver. The ITC’s investigation is ongoing and is expected to conclude in October 2023.

At every stage of this process, dozens of domestic and foreign leaders and stakeholders have voiced opposition to each iteration of the proposed waiver due to their lack of short-term benefits and threat of long-term detriments. They include:

Ron Klink, “America can’t give the world all our ideas, if we really want to help the world,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/27/2023

Marc Busch, “ITC Needs to Study the Right Questions About Waiving COVID Patents,” InsideSources, 1/30/2023

Richard Timmer, “Protect the next generation of pandemic drugs,” Albany Herald, 1/7/2023

Marc Busch, “Kicking the can down the road on expanding the TRIPS waiver,” Washington Times, 1/5/2023

Wolfgang Klietmann, “Don’t Downgrade Our Ability to Fight Infectious Disease,” InsideSources, 1/3/2023

Sandip Shah, “Don’t take medical miracles for granted,” The Highland County Press, 12/15/2022

Lori Otto Punke, “How to hurt Washington’s workers without supporting public health,” The Spokesman-Review, 12/12/2022

Marc Busch, “China’s plan to expand the TRIPS waiver threatens U.S. national security,” Washington Times, 11/24/2022

Joe Crowley, “COVID-19 patent waiver won’t save lives. It could claim them,” Yahoo! News, 11/23/2022

Howard Dean, “The World Trade Organization Could Make The Next Pandemic Even Worse,” International Business Times, 11/20/2022

Ken Thorpe, “Biden administration must protect U.S. biotech firms from foreign rivals,” Chicago Sun-Times, 11/19/2022

Marc Busch, “The Folly of Expanding the TRIPS Waiver,” RealClear Policy, 11/10/2022

Jim Edwards, “Will Biden Let China Steal Our Technology?,” Townhall, 10/18/2022

Marc Busch, “Congress Needs to Stop the Expansion of the TRIPS Waiver”, InsideSources, 10/17/2022

Walt Copan, “China’s Ally in Stealing Western IP: the United States,” RealClearPolicy, 10/13/2022

Ken Thorpe, “WTO: Don’t make a bad situation worse by granting intellectual property waivers for Covid-19 therapeutics and diagnostics,” STAT, 7/31/2022

Philip Thompson “The WTO’s Strike against U.S. Intellectual Property — and What’s Next,” National Review, 7/5/2022

Ron Klink, “The proposed WTO patent deal invites outbreaks worse than monkeypox,” The Patriot-News, 6/14/2022

Paul Michel, “Don’t Compromise American Innovation,”, 6/14/2022

Andrew Spiegel, “Where Covid, Cancer, and Intellectual Property Rights Converge,” RealClearPolicy, 6/14/2022

Ron Klink, “The proposed WTO patent deal invites outbreaks worse than monkeypox,” The Patriot-News, 6/14/2022

Andrew Spiegel, “Where Covid, Cancer, and Intellectual Property Rights Converge,” RealClearPolicy, 6/14/2022

Shanker Singham, “Why weakening intellectual property rights would be a grave mistake for the WTO,” CapX, 6/13/2022

Eileen McDermott, “WTO Conference Could End with Agreement on COVID Vaccine IP Waiver This Week,” IPWatchdog, 6/12/2022

Peter Pitts, “Vaccins: l’OMC ne devrait pas jouer avec les brevets au beau milieu d’une nouvelle épidémie,” L’Opinion, 6/10/2022

Grover Norquist, “Biden’s push to undermine IP rights harms the US and helps Communist China,” The Hill, 6/9/2022

Peter Pitts, “Amidst New Outbreak, WTO Shouldn’t Monkey with TRIPS,” Townhall, 6/8/2022

Deborah Wince-Smith, “Pres. Biden, don’t give away American intellectual property,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/6/2022

Philip Thompson, “Proposed Vaccine Deal: Ignoring the Constitution and Giving Away American Intellectual Property,” National Review, 6/6/2022

Andrei Iancu and David J. Kappos, “Team Biden ready to handle Russia and China vaccine technology — free of charge,” New York Post, 6/5/2022

Adam Brandon, “The US cannot afford to give intellectual property rights to China,” The Hill, 6/3/2022

David J. Kappos and Gary Locke, “A disastrous deal for public health,” New York Daily News, 6/2/2022

Thompson Ayodele, “Okonjo-Iweala: Triggering the next global health crisis,” PUNCH, 5/31/2022

Dennis Shea, “TRIPS Waiver Would Further Undermine the WTO’s Credibility,” RealClearPolicy, 5/24/2022

Sally Pipes, “Biden’s Secret Vaxx Deal Threatens Medical Progress,” 5/23/2022

Lamar Smith, “USTR Needs to Step Up Trade Enforcement,” IPWatchdog, 5/22/2022

Frank Samolis, “Why giving away COVID vaccine patents is a dangerous move,” Detroit News, 5/20/2022

Britain Eakin, “WTO Talks On Vaccine Patents Falter As Pandemic Surges,” Law360, 5/19/2022

Sally Pipes, “With vaccine IP waiver, wave goodbye to future treatments,” Washington Examiner, 5/16/2022

James Pooley, “Threat to global innovation brewing at the WTO,” Boston Herald, 5/9/2022

Howard Dean, “To Vaccinate The World, Don’t Attack The System That Gave Us Vaccines,” International Business Times, 5/1/2022

Kenneth Thorpe, “To Protect Patients, First We Must Protect Patents,” RealClearPolicy, 3/30/2022

Paul Redmond Michel, “China’s formidable technology challenge,” Washington Times 3/17/2022

Vanessa Kerry and Polly Dunford, “The U.S. Has Risen to Global Health Challenges Before. It Can Again.,” Barron’s, 2/11/2022

Joe Crowley, “Why Healthcare Infrastructure, Not Intellectual Property, Is Key To Defeating COVID,” International Business Times, 2/6/2022

Andrei Iancu, “World leaders should acknowledge that IP protections facilitate vaccine access,” Fortune, 12/24/2021

Ed Royce and Ted Yoho, “America’s Leadership Strategy for Defeating COVID-19 and Preventing the Next Pandemic,” InsideSources, 12/15/2021

Charles Boustany, “No, Pharmaceutical Companies Are Not ‘War Profiteers’” RealClearPolicy, 11/22/2021

Adam Mossoff, “Stripping Intellectual Property Rights from Covid-19 Vaccines Is Disastrous,” RealClearHealth, 10/22/2021

John Preston, “The Lifesaving Lessons of COVID-19,” InsideSources, 9/19/2021

Mark Cohen, “There Are Perils To President Biden’s WTO Waiver,” International Business Times, 9/19/2021

Kenneth Thorpe, “Intellectual property rules enable vaccine innovation,” Buffalo News, 9/12/2021

Carol Mimura, “Gutting IP rights will upend university research, innovation,” The Mercury News, 9/9/2021

Gary Locke, “Weakening IP protections won’t help developing countries right now fight COVID-19,” Seattle Times, 9/8/2021

Sandip Shah and Deep Patel, “Medical breakthroughs stifled by waiving intellectual-property rights,” Orlando Sentinel, 8/28/2021

Frank Samolis, “Why Trade Enforcement Needs To Be A Top Priority For Biden Administration,” International Business Times, 8/15/2021

Wolfgang Klietmann, “With one move, president threatens medical progress,” Boston Herald, 8/13/2021

Andrei Iancu, “Biden is trying to undermine America’s world-leading IP protections,” Washington Times, 8/11/2021

Andrew Spiegel, “How the COVID IP-waiver could sabotage crucial cancer research,” The News Journal, 8/5/2021

Erik Paulsen, “We Can Save The World With Our Vaccines — Without Surrendering Our IP To China,” International Business Times, 7/3/2021

Lou Berneman, “If the government had swooped in, made-in-America COVID vaccines might not have happened,” Miami Herald, 6/28/2021

Howard Dean, “U.S. Should Give Global Vaccine Effort a Shot in the Arm,”, 6/25/2021

Peter Pitts, “Waiving Covid-19 Vaccine Patents Is a Bad Idea and Sets a Dangerous Precedent,” Townhall, 6/22/2021

Saul Anuzis, “Why Cancel Life-Saving Cures for Seniors?,” RealClearHealth 6/14/2021

Gaurav Gupta, “As Washington Ties Pharma’s Hands, China Is Leaping Ahead,” Barron’s, 6/11/2021

James Pooley, “Drawn-Out Negotiations Over Covid IP Will Blow Back on Biden,” Barron’s, 5/26/2021

David Kappos and Judge Paul Michel, “Waiving Covid-19 vaccine patents won’t get shots in arms faster. It slows down new vaccines.,” NBC News, 5/25/2021

Fred Reinhart, “America needs strong patent laws to keep inventing,” Boston Herald, 5/23/2021

Sally Pipes, “Biden’s Intellectual Property Waiver Puts Political Symbolism Before Saving Lives,” Newsmax, 5/12/2021

Ron Klink, “Patent waivers won’t cure COVID-19,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 5/9/2021

Kenneth Thorpe, “America Follow Europe’s Lead: Patents Protect Patients Globally,” RealClearHealth, 4/29/2021

Jon Soderstrom, “Patents don’t hamper access to drugs and vaccines,” Boston Herald, 4/26/2021

Colman Ragan, “Intellectual property drives medical innovations,” Buffalo News 4/25/2021

Michael Rosenblatt, “The downside of suspending intellectual property rights on COVID-19 Vaccines,” Boston Globe, 4/23/2021

Adam Mossoff, “Waiving vaccine patents would imperil public health,” The Virginian-Pilot, 4/14/2021

Andrei Iancu, “No evidence that patents slow access to vaccines,” STAT, 4/13/2021

John Stanford, “Throwing Away Drug Patents Won’t Cure Anything,” InsideSources, 4/5/2021

John Stanford, “Thank private risk-taking, not public funding, for Covid-19 vaccines, therapies,” STAT, 4/5/2021

John Stanford, “Intellectual property rights are not delaying coronavirus vaccines,” Washington Post, 3/16/2021

Howard Dean, “India Wants to Copy American Vaccines. Biden Shouldn’t Fall For It.,” Barron’s, 3/12/2021

Sally Pipes, “Intellectual Property Rights Are Key To Fighting Covid-19 And Protecting Public Health,” Forbes, 3/5/2021

Peter Pitts, “Gutting Patents Won’t Speed the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout,” IPWatchdog, 2/18/2021

James Pooley, “Covid Vaccine Shakedown at the WTO,” Wall Street Journal, 12/16/2020

Marc Busch, “United States needs IP protections to beat COVID-19,” The Washington Times, 12/3/2020