Pharma & drug development

Intellectual property in the time of COVID-19

Governments have been waiving common Intellectual Property laws in pursuit of a treatment for Covid-19, overriding patent protections and allowing sales of generic drugs. This is a concerning move for pharma companies struggling to navigate unclear rules, but could it change the R&D landscape forever? Abi Millar fins out more about IP during the Covid-19 crisis.

The race for a Covid-19 vaccine or treatment is on. With around 400 potential candidates in development, according to BioCentury, pharma companies have recognised their role in resolving the crisis. They have applied themselves to the challenge without hesitation.

However, the situation is bringing some difficult questions to the fore, not least the balancing act between public health and private interests. The pharma industry, as a rule, tends to be fiercely protective of its intellectual property (IP) and indeed sees patents as key to innovation.

“Intellectual property has not been an impediment to the common goal of ending this pandemic and rather has enabled the development of several medicines and vaccines that are now being tested for additional use in the fight against the COVID-19,” argues Thomas Cueni, director general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Association (IFPMA).

Read the rest of this article in the July 2020 edition of Pharma Technology Focus

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