The initiative of US President Joe Biden, who proposed to temporarily cancel patents for COVID vaccines, caused a wide discussion around the world. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU was ready to discuss the proposal but stressed that it would be more important to allow the export of vaccines first. The European press is talking about how to make the distribution of vaccines as fair as possible.
And where is the responsibility to society?
The results of the research should be put at the service of humanity вЂ” and not only because states have allocated huge funds to pharmaceutical companies, вЂњ writes Novi list:
вЂњVaccines should be in the public domain, but for many companies, the benefits are more important than the health of the people. The question is how much private companies can be considered вЂњownersвЂќ of the vaccine at all if so many states have donated a lot of money from their own budgets for research, development, and testing of vaccines-in the total amount of at least 8.5 billion US dollars. So all of these companies should be content with minimal profits and show their much-emphasized 'responsibility to society' in a pandemic situation.вЂќ
There is no other way
As the publication Polityka notes, the temporary cancellation of patents is the only way out of the situation:
вЂњIf humanity really intends to defeat the coronavirus, then intensive vaccination should also be carried out in developing countries. Without a breakthrough in this direction, there will be no progress at all. And there are currently no alternatives to the idea of revoking patents.вЂќ
We need to distribute vaccines more fairly
Urgent measures must be taken regardless of the patent issue, вЂњ De Volkskrant urges:
вЂњThe abolition of patents is not a panacea and it will not be able to fill the shortage of vaccines in poor countries overnight. It will take a long time to create new production sites in Africa and Asia. In the short term, we need to distribute vaccines more fairly among the countries of the world. To begin with, the United States should lift its ban on vaccine exports, but in turn, Europe should make a much greater effort вЂ” and not only on moral grounds. The fact is that if the virus continues to spread in the countries of Africa, Asia, and South America, new dangerous strains may appear, which will definitely reach the countries of the West вЂ” and endanger the health of the population.вЂќ
And he's doing the right thing again!
Politiken supports Biden's initiative:
вЂњIn this case, the well-being of humanity should take priority over the benefits. And the fact that the President of the United States led his country into this battle does honor both him and his administration. America has once again bypassed Europe's political leadership in terms of a progressive agenda. The EU has so far opposed the abolition of patents; European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has only cautiously stated that the EU is ready to discuss the US proposal. ... In the 1990s and early 2000s, patents led to delays in providing HIV medicines to poor countries вЂ” resulting in millions of deaths. So make sure that this does not happen again!вЂќ