July 25, 2024

Obviously, the number of anti-Covid-19 vaccines being produced is grossly disproportionate with the number of people who must be immunized.
So far, the corporations manufacturing the antigens are hard-up in catching up with the much-needed vaccines. The demand is so much higher than the supply.
To cope up, the South African prime minister and several others suggested that patent restrictions be lifted and the formula for the production of the vaccines be shared so that each and every nation may use their own funds to produce their own vaccines.
In that manner, the shortage will be addressed and the inequity in the distribution of the medicine will be remedied.
The suggestion seems sound and noble. However, to lift patent restrictions to enable all countries to develop and produce their own vaccines is not as simple as that. There are political, economic, and social factors that must be taken into account.
Multi-national corporations that developed the anti-Covid formula invested billions of money to come up with their products. They did not just pluck up what they are marketing out of the blue. Whatever they have is the culmination of an expensive research and months of endeavor toward producing an effective medicine. It is, in the true sense of the word, a property. That is why, it is covered by a patent.
To lift the patent restrictions constitutes a violation of the international treaty that protects the rights of scientists to invent and to further the cause of mankind. It is actually an incentive to be creative. If, therefore, the patent restrictions are lifted leaving no protection to the ingenuity of inventors, who will invent? Most importantly, who will invest?
True, the primary consideration in the production of the anti-Covid vaccines is supposed to be for the survival of humanity and not for monetary profit. Tell that to the marines. The production of the anti-Covid vaccine is as much a commercial endeavor as it is for charity. The health of people is as much a money making venture as the sale of ordinary clothes. That is why the developers of the vaccine were made to do it without government intervention, much less, government regulation. It is and it will always be for profit.
No wonder, there is an inequitable distribution of the vaccines with most of what is available cornered by First World countries. Why is this the case? Because they have the money to buy and they have the resources to hoard. On the other hand, Third World countries merely rely on donations to obtain theirs. Thanks to the Covax facility initiated by the World Health Organization. Though this, by itself, is not a guarantee that poor nations will have ample supply. In fact, they don’t.
Then, there is the legal angle to look into. For instance, under what brand name will the outsourced vaccines be marketed? Generics are all too familiar to us. Experience has validated that as compared to the branded, the efficacy and safety is a poor substitute. Supposing further that the outsourced anti-Covid vaccines are diluted and its efficiency compromised, who will suffer the consequences? Surely, a big corporation with a big reputation will not sully its name by allowing others to produce or manufacture a substandard product only to satisfy the demand of the suffering public. It will amount to nothing. In truth, it will only promote fraud and deception.
Thus, there is no reason to lift the patent restrictions and let every nation hungering for the vaccine to develop its own. Leave the status quo because in due time, the experts will be able to produce sufficient doses to cover all the people. Let us all just be patient and do our obligation to stay safe and remain healthy.