WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) today joined U.S Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in introducing legislation to stop the Biden administration from compromising the intellectual property rights of vaccine manufacturers through Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waivers. U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Mike Lee (R-UT) are original cosponsors of the legislation.
“The power of American ingenuity produced three life-saving COVID vaccines in record time – that is something to be proud of,” said Senator Tuberville. “Private industry should have a say if their coveted vaccine formulas are exported to other countries and their cutting-edge technology is copied. Additionally, allowing for a TRIPS waiver would increase the likelihood that this sought-after technology would make it into the hands of bad actors like China and Russia, who could use it to advance their malign agendas. Global industry has the means to produce billions of vaccine doses and they should do so on their own terms, but waiving global intellectual property protections simply undermines American innovation.”
“President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed proved the life-saving capabilities of the private sector, but for some reason the Democrats are on a mission to stop this innovation in its tracks,” said Senator Blackburn. “I am leading the charge to stop Joe Biden’s plan to waive the intellectual property rights of vaccine manufacturers. Without the power of free market innovation, we will lose any chance we have at successfully managing another global public health crisis.”
- Last month, reports surfaced that the United States, European Union, India and South Africa reached a deal on a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver for COVID-19 vaccines.
- The compromise would allow developing countries with low vaccine exports to use patented vaccine formulas without the owner’s approval.
- The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) claims that a waiver would promote greater global production and access to vaccines, but industry is expected to produce 20 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2022.
- South Africa and India want access to the underlying technology so they can capitalize on U.S. private investment. In addition, it is likely this technology would then be transferred to adversaries like Russia and China.
- The ongoing TRIPS waiver negotiations at World Trade Organization would undermine American innovation and threatens our ability to prepare for the next pandemic.