There is overwhelming evidence of inequitable access to a range of COVID-19 targeting biopharmaceutical interventions, including not only vaccines but also anti-viral drug therapies, diagnostic tests, and various materials that are incorporated into these products. As recently explained by Yamey et al. in the British Medical Journal, inequitable access is baked into every phase of the biopharmaceutical system—from production and allocation to affordability and deployment. Yet, it is still possible to improve access to these critically important biopharmaceutical interventions in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Intellectual property (IP) rights are one crucial site where policy intervention can make an immediate and direct impact.
In this Brief, I outline six IP-related policy actions that the federal government can take today, tomorrow, and next week, which will enhance equitable access to COVID-19 biopharmaceutical interventions.
A Brief from Matthew Herder submitted to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE) (10 May 2022), online: House of Commons < www.ourcommons.ca > [perma.cc/3Z4L-MRGV].