Majority Of House Democrats Want Joe Biden To Waive COVID-19 Vaccine Patents

A majority of House Democrats signed a letter to President Joe Biden Tuesday calling on the White House to temporarily waive patents and other intellectual property protections that prevent developing countries from mass-producing COVID-19 vaccines.
The letter, written by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) With the support of 109 colleagues, offers Biden an opportunity to save lives and improve the global image of the United States, which was affected during the Donald Trump administration was pulled.
Biden has so far refused to lift the United States 'opposition to the World Trade Organization (WTO), even considering a temporary waiver of drug manufacturers' protection.
"Your administration has an incredible opportunity to undo the damage the Trump administration has done to our nation's global reputation and restore America's public health leadership on the world stage," the letter said. "In order to end the pandemic as quickly as possible and to save the lives of Americans and people around the world, we ask that you reverse the Trump position and support the US for the WTO renunciation (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property) to announce. "
The letter's signatories cover the ideological spectrum and include a number of moderate Democrats on rocking seats, including Reps Jared Golden from Maine and Elissa Slotkin from Michigan.
There are also some puzzling absences. Of the 93 members of the Progressive Congress, 23 did not sign the letter. Those who don't sign are: Representative Alma Adams (NC), Nanette Diaz Barragán (California), Brendan Boyle (Pa.), Katherine Clark (Mass.), Steve Cohen (Tenn.), Madeline Dean (Pa.), Diana DeGette (Colorado), Dwight Evans (Pennsylvania), Steven Horsford (Nevada), Hakeem Jeffries (New York), Kai Kahele (Hawaii), Andy Kim (New Jersey), Mike Levin (California), Zoe Lofgren (California). ), Gwen Moore (Wisconsin), Frank Pallone (New Jersey), Jimmy Panetta (California), Linda Sanchez (California), Adam Smith (Washington), Juan Vargas (California), John Yarmuth (Ky), and Bonnie Watson Coleman ( NJ).
According to the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS Agreement), WTO member states must comply with patents and other intellectual property regulations that effectively grant US and European pharmaceutical companies monopolies for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals.
The richest nations in the world and the drug manufacturers based in those countries insist that temporarily waiving or disabling global intellectual property regimes does not immediately provide developing countries with the technological know-how and raw materials to make vaccines.
However, these developing countries, led by India and South Africa, claim that renouncement, even if inadequate for adequate global vaccine supplies, is at least a necessary requirement.
MP Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) Cited a letter calling on President Joe Biden to forego patents that prevent developing countries from mass-producing the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo: Tom Williams / Getty Images)
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At present, the voluntary arrangements that the United States and its allies have made to solicit vaccine donations and technology transfers have proven extremely inadequate to provide vaccines to low-income countries. India in particular is struggling to dispose of bodies as the pandemic hits deadly new heights.
Also, as COVID-19 continues to mutate, proponents of waiver stress that the United States has a vested interest in manufacturing and administering as many vaccine doses as possible as quickly as possible.
"Biden gets pretty good marks - even from many Republicans - for taking on COVID," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. "All of these positive attitudes and health benefits could be lost if you're not careful and a vaccine-resistant variant brews up in another place that inevitably spreads around the world and we are all banned again."
Schakowsky's letter is the latest in a series of efforts by Congress Democrats, progressive groups, and global humanitarian activists to move Biden closer to supporting a surrender.
In the Senate, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Also sent a letter to Biden advocating the patent waiver and receiving the support of nine other members of the Senate's Democratic Caucus. The central centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) Has expressed his openness to the idea.
On Thursday, terminally ill progressive activist Ady Barkan posted a video calling on Biden to stay true to a promise.
In Barkan's video, he plays an excerpt from an on-camera interview with Biden before the election, in which Biden Barkan reiterated his support for the waiver of COVID-19 vaccine patents, which prevent the vaccine from being mass-produced.
"Absolutely positive," replied Biden when asked to make a commitment. "This is the only thing human in the world."
Biden has promised to make vaccines widely available but declined to commit to the temporary patent waiver. "I think we will be able to share vaccines and expertise with other countries that are really in need," he said in late April.
Many Democrats are wary of breaking intellectual property rules. Many of them are among the top 25 recipients of the Congress for campaign contributions from pharmaceutical political action committees.
Two such Democrats - MPs Scott Peters, California and Ron Kind, Wisconsin - have requested support for a corporate-sponsored letter expressing their opposition to the patent waiver.
Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), A confidante from Biden and the 16th largest recipient of PAC donations from the pharmaceutical industry in the last election cycle, has spoken out in defense of the patents.
"A central part of the success in this competition is the continuation of our constitutionally protected right to a patent," said Coons in a speech in April.
Connected...
Poorer countries are still lagging behind on COVID-19 vaccinations
Pharma-backed Democrats are gathering opposition to the abandonment of vaccination patents
What you should know about the growing debate over COVID-19 vaccine patents and justice
Pharma-backed Democrats refuse to support waiving COVID-19 vaccination patents
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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