In response to Moderna’s announcement that the corporation will not enforce its patents for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate during the pandemic, Niko Lusiani, Senior Advisor with Oxfam America, made the following statement:
“Moderna’s decision today to forgo enforcement of its patents for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate during the course of the pandemic is an important and welcome step to boost access to a life-saving vaccine. This announcement now sets a new expectation for all COVID-19 vaccine developers to do the same.
“To put this new commitment into practice, Moderna, and the other leading vaccine manufacturers, should designate their patents and manufacturing know-how to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool to ensure that we have the ability to produce the most number of doses in the shortest amount of time for the lowest cost to ensure access for everyone.
“But ultimately, in a global pandemic of this magnitude, we cannot rely on the ad hoc and partial good will of one corporation. Governments and corporations must work together to curb unfettered monopolies over drugs and vaccines, which prevents governments from taking the necessary steps to expand supply and reduce prices. All COVID-19 treatments and vaccines must be global public goods.
“Governments in particular can and should look to waive provisions of the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Agreement that impede the prevention, testing, containment, and treatment of COVID-19, as India and South Africa have proposed to the WTO. The public has already paid for these medicines – US taxpayers have already committed over $1 billion to Moderna alone – and we should not pay again through artificially restricted access and artificially high prices that leave the poorest behind.
“We must pursue a new path – a People’s Vaccine that prioritizes public health over private profits. No one should be denied access to a life-saving vaccine simply because of where they live or how much money they have.”