Harry and Meghan are wrong about Covid vaccine patents

Pharmaceutical companies might think it a bit rich being asked to waive the patents on their Covid vaccines by Harry and Meghan, a couple who have rejected the concept of public service in an attempt to monetise their royal status. But let’s overlook the charge of hypocrisy and ask whether there really is any substance to Harry and Meghan’s charge that ‘ultra-wealthy’ pharmaceutical companies are holding up the vaccination of the developing world by refusing to surrender their intellectual property. It is certainly not true in the case of AstraZeneca, which has made its vaccine available at cost price. Not only that, it has licensed production to the Serum Institute

In defence of Biden’s Covid-19 patent waiver

For a man who is regularly derided by Republicans, president Joe Biden has racked up a fine number of achievements. He made his latest on 5 May, when he threw his support behind waiving the Covid-19 patents, overturning decades of American protection of its industries’ intellectual property rights. His words packed a punch: the Frankfurt-listed shares in BioNTech promptly lost 14 per cent, while Moderna and Novavax closed three to six per cent down in New York. The U.S. pharmaceutical industry was quick to denounce the measure, as Jeremy Levin, chair of the biotech trade association Bio, asserted that ‘securing vaccines rapidly will not be the result.’ But, in fact, that’s