Coronavirus

Corona vaccines: Federal government rejects patent release

During a protest in Berlin in January, protesters demand the release of the corona vaccine patents

During a protest in Berlin in January, protesters demand the release of the corona vaccine patents

Christophe Gateau / picture alliance via Getty Images

The federal government has spoken out against plans by the government of US President Joe Biden to suspend corona vaccine patents in order to make more vaccine available worldwide.

“The US proposal to lift patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines has significant implications for vaccine production as a whole,” a government spokeswoman told Reuters. “The limiting factor in the manufacture of vaccines is the production capacity and the high quality standards, not the patents. The protection of intellectual property is a source of innovation and must remain so in the future. “

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) was more open to the proposal from the USA: “If this is a way that can contribute to the fact that more people can be supplied with vaccines, then that is a question that we have to ask ourselves”, he said on Thursday. Maas pointed out that the G7 foreign ministers had also discussed the issue. Like Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) before, however, he also said that the problems with the availability of vaccines could be solved with better production capacities and supply chains.

The German-based pharmaceutical companies and vaccine manufacturers Biontech and Curevac also refused to revoke the patents at Reuters’ request. The director of the international pharmaceuticals association IFPMA, Thomas Cueni, told the news agency that “dubious companies” threatened to enter production if the product was released.

EU is ready to talk when approving patents – with restrictions

The US announced on Wednesday that it would appeal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for an exemption from patents for corona vaccines. More than 100 member countries of the WTO have indicated their readiness for a corresponding project proposed by South Africa and India.

The EU also showed itself to be at least ready to discuss the matter on Thursday. “The European Union is ready to discuss any proposal that addresses this crisis effectively and pragmatically,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, but limited: “In the short term, we are calling on all countries with vaccine production to allow exports and avoid everything, which could disrupt supply chains. To be clear, Europe is the only democratic region in the world that allows exports on a large scale. “

In a letter initiated by the German SPD MP Tiemo Wölken, 143 members of the European Parliament asked the EU Commission to join the US patent initiative. “The global imbalance in access to life-saving vaccines is unacceptable,” the letter reads. “The EU must take concrete steps to make vaccine technologies available to potential manufacturers worldwide.”

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