The United States has offered to support India’s request following a telephone conversation between US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month. But most of the countries in the European Union and other countries including Japan, Canada, and Australia, are still reluctant to accept India’s patent waiver.
Their fear is that pharmaceutical companies will be reluctant to engage in new research and that the future of the industry will be affected by patent relaxation.
Getting a patent relaxation does not end the problem. It should be remembered that vaccine manufacturing is an industry that requires a very large amount of capital.
Nor can it be expected that all developing countries will go down in vaccine production as patent relaxation is granted.
In addition, there are a number of issues with patent relaxation, such as providing other technical assistance, obtaining the raw materials needed for the product, developing the product structure, and distributing the manufactured vaccines.
Vaccinating everyone in the world would require about 10 to 15 billion vaccines. That, too, is something that cannot be compensated for by existing vaccine manufacturers without much delay.
So it is wrong for them to be greedy. Those big manufacturing companies are not going to face a loss because of the patent exemption.
They will get the patent amount anyhow from the manufacturers. It is painful that they are so stubborn in the time of a pandemic.