WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Natural Products Association (NPA) along with patent law expert Kevin Bell, partner and co-chair of the Intellectual Property practice, for Arnold Golden Gregory LLP, warned that waiving patents for COVID-19 vaccines for any period of time could undermine American innovation and have a damaging impact on the nutritional supplement industry.
“We share the Administration’s goal of bringing a swift end to this pandemic, but unfortunately this is exactly the wrong approach and will set a dangerous precedent,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., President and CEO of NPA. “Our members invest millions of dollars in new products each year with the expectation that their property rights will be protected, especially from overseas competitors. We need more protections for these investments, not less. We strongly urge the Administration to rethink this approach.”
“A broad waiver of intellectual property covering innovative technologies such as vaccines is a very slippery and potentially dangerous slope,” said Bell, Co-Chair of AGG’s IP Practice. It risks setting harmful precedent for the industries investing the most in intellectual property protection. The unintended consequences of this decision could result in a weakened patent system and less innovation in the future. The real issues around vaccine production and availability are going to remain the same – safety, supply chain and distribution.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of dietary supplements. A waiver of patent rights regarding vaccine technologies will ultimately affect the supplement industry. If patent rights to vaccines can be waived, so can those protecting supplements. Bad actors around the world that knowingly steal valuable intellectual property will quickly expand. Broader access to vaccines is important, but this is not the tool to use.