COVID-19 Pandemic, Long-Term Incentives for Developing Vaccines and Infectious Disease Market: IP Law under Stress
48 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2020
Date Written: October 13, 2020
Continents are facing an apocalyptic pandemic that pose a mortal danger to millions of its citizens. This paper seeks to address the role of intellectual property law in addressing the problem of COVID-19 pandemic. We suggest that current international IP law regime and TRIPS Agreement do not pose an insurmountable impediment to access to the successful COVID-19 vaccine. Publicly advocated fundamental reform or even the abolishment of the current IP law regime under severe information asymmetries might be counterproductive and distortive. Governments can via existing compulsory licensing, advance purchase agreements and employment of patent-pools, research subsidies, reward mechanisms and reputational sanctions take necessary steps to effectively overcome any IP barriers in ensuring access to crucial medicines/vaccines especially during a COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the current rate of medical research on COVID-19 suggests that previous vaccine R&D “failures” were driven by rather limited demand for such vaccines and where not the problem of inadequate IP-incentive stream. Furthermore, paper suggest that the current EU competition law rules on the horizontal exchange of information might be perceived as an impediment to innovate and might be temporary suspended. In addition, paper offers several substantive insights on an improved IP related public policy respond in the war against COVID-19.
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, patent protection, intellectual property rights, incentives, law and economics
JEL Classification: C23, C26, C51, K42, O43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation