WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Reps. Michelle Fischbach (MN-07) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02) introduced a resolution to protect the intellectual property (IP) of COVID-19 vaccines. This resolution would express the sense of the House of Representatives is that the U.S. should not waive IP rights relating to COVID-19 vaccines or treatments.
“Thanks to Operation Warp Speed and its unprecedented public-private partnership, the United States led the rest of the world in developing safe and highly effective COVID-19 vaccines in record time. As a direct result of that American ingenuity, the United States is well on its way to recovery and able to lead the effort to deliver vaccines around the world,” said Rep. Fischbach. “Waiving the intellectual property rights for these vaccines will not only upend our ongoing pandemic response domestically and abroad, it will also discourage the innovation and investment required to develop such lifesaving treatments in the future.”
“Waiving the IP for the COVID-19 vaccine would destroy billions of dollars in U.S. IP by handing it over to countries like Russia and China. Giving away our IP will also set a precedent for future pandemics and deter pharmaceutical investment,” said Rep. Miller-Meeks. “If we have learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that we now understand the importance of having our private sector partners working with us to prepare for future emergencies. As a doctor and member of both the Homeland Security Committee and Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, I understand the importance of protecting our IP to support our healthcare system and bolster our domestic supply chains.”
To read the full text of the resolution, click here.
Building on decades of research and in conjunction with Operation Warp Speed, the United States pharmaceutical industry successfully developed three incredibly effective COVID–19 vaccines to date, with a fourth vaccine currently undergoing clinical trials. These vaccines are the most respected, most sought after vaccines in the world due to their exceptional efficacy and safety, which is due to both the painstaking work and investment during development as well as the diligent efforts of the United States pharmaceutical industry to qualify and oversee world-class manufacturing facilities to produce the vaccines.
In addition to protecting U.S. IP, this resolution would state the policy of the U.S. should not be to strip innovators of valid IP protections because it would undermine innovation, weaken the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, and damage our ability to respond to future pandemics.
IP protections are vital to incentivize innovation, including the innovations that directly led to the COVID–19 vaccines and may revolutionize future vaccine development efforts. Additionally, we have seen that IP protections have not contributed significantly to shortages of COVID–19 vaccines or had a significant effect on the pace of vaccinations, both of which are predominantly dependent on logistical challenges, raw material shortages, and other factors.
Original cosponsors of the resolution include Reps. Ted Budd (NC-13), Tim Burchett (TN-02), Liz Cheney (WY-At Large), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Tom Emmer (MN-06), Scott Franklin (FL-15), Bob Gibbs (OH-07), Mark Green (TN-07), Jody Hice (GA-10), Ashley Hinson (IA-01), Richard Hudson (NC-09), Jim Jordan (OH-04), Nancy Mace (SC-01), Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Burgess Owens (UT-04), John Rutherford (FL-04), Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), and Ann Wagner (MO-02).
Michelle Fischbach is a wife, mom, grandma, attorney, and the U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District. Get updates from Rep. Fischbach’s congressional office on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.