Innovation Institutions and COVID-19

157 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2021

See all articles by Lisa Larrimore Ouellette

Lisa Larrimore Ouellette

Stanford Law School

W. Nicholson Price II

University of Michigan Law School

Rachel Sachs

Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law

Jacob S. Sherkow

University of Illinois College of Law; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology; Center for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law

Date Written: April 14, 2021

Abstract

The COVID-19 crisis has starkly illustrated both the strengths and limitations of U.S. biomedical innovation institutions as deployed to fight a pandemic. These innovation institutions include not just intellectual property law, but also other legal systems that structure incentives for production and allocation of knowledge goods, including regulation by health agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, programs like Medicare and Medicaid that govern healthcare reimbursement, and government subsidies for research and development through agencies such as the National Institutes of Health. In this collection of essays from March 2020 through April 2021, originally published at Written Description, we explore the response of these legal institutions to a variety of COVID-19-related technologies including vaccines, diagnostics, pharmaceutical treatments, and medical devices. While each technology brings its own challenges, we find a number of common innovation inefficiencies present during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as a lack of robust interagency coordination, poor incentives to generate health information, and persistent difficulties in manufacturing health care technologies at scale. In addition, throughout our work we highlight inequities in the healthcare innovation ecosystem related to race, gender, wealth, and geography. Although U.S. innovation institutions have resulted in some remarkable successes—such as the record-breaking speed of vaccine development—the pandemic has also drawn attention to innovation policy failures. Policymakers should focus on addressing these problems now—before the next pandemic strikes.

Keywords: COVID-19, innovation policy, public health, intellectual property law, R&D, grants, procurement, NIH, FDA, EUA, CMS, vaccines, diagnostics, antibody testing, remdesivir, therapeutic antibodies, convalescent serum therapy, pharmaceutical manufacturing, clinical trials, N95s, 3D printing, AI

JEL Classification: I10, I11, I13, I14, I18, K20, K23, K39, L51, O31, O38

Suggested Citation

Ouellette, Lisa Larrimore and Price II, William Nicholson and Sachs, Rachel and Sherkow, Jacob S., Innovation Institutions and COVID-19 (April 14, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3826687 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3826687

Lisa Larrimore Ouellette (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

HOME PAGE: http://law.stanford.edu/directory/lisa-larrimore-ouellette/

William Nicholson Price II

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

Rachel Sachs

Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

Jacob S. Sherkow

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology ( email )

Urbana, IL
United States

Center for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law ( email )

Studiestraede 6
Studiestrade 6
Copenhagen, DK-1455
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://jura.ku.dk/cebil/staff/

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