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Articles on Patents

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Global Justice campaigners in London stand by fake coffins to highlight global COVID-19 deaths. If pharma companies waived intellectual property rights, it would be easier for low- and middle-income countries to access COVID-19 vaccines. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

We still need a vaccine patent waiver, but not the one on offer at the World Trade Organization meeting

Waiving patent rights on COVID-19 vaccines and drugs is still crucial to ensure access globally, but the waiver on the table at the June World Trade Organization meeting doesn’t do the job.
From thalidomide to Viagra, drug repurposing salvaged failed treatments by giving them new targets. smartboy10/DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images

Repurposing generic drugs can reduce time and cost to develop new treatments – but low profitability remains a barrier

Drug repurposing can redeem failed treatments and squeeze out new uses from others. But many pharmaceutical companies are hesitant to retool existing drugs without a high return on investment.
The US has agreed to ‘free the vaccine’, but will it work? Allison Bailey / Alamy Stock Photo

US-backed vaccine patent waiver: pros and cons explained

It’s not clear whether the TRIPS agreement is what’s getting in the way of vaccine supply, and waiving intellectual property rights may stifle future innovation.

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