WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ahead of Ambassador Tai’s appearance before the Ways and Means Committee on President Biden’s 2021 trade agenda, Republican leader of the Subcommittee on Health Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) penned an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, where he outlined how President Biden’s COVID-19 patent waiver benefits China at the expense of American innovation.
Rep. Nunes wrote:
“The mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines represents unique technology developed through billions of dollars of investments from the companies themselves as well as U.S. taxpayers. The technology may have wide-ranging applications aside from its use as a COVID-19 vaccine.
“What possible benefit is there in allowing Beijing to leapfrog the entire research and development phase that we underwent at a huge expense?”
- Free-Enterprise Works: Thanks to American ingenuity and hardworking taxpayer dollars, the U.S. has quickly developed and distributed lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines.
- President Biden is Giving China A Free Pass at the Expense of American Free-Enterprise: American developers will now be forced to hand over the groundbreaking technology that allowed the development of these life-saving vaccines to foreign competitors like China.
- Waiving Patent Rights Sabotages Future Medical Innovation: Waiving the patents on these vaccines will disincentivize future investment and development of vaccines and treatments.
- It Won’t Work: It will take manufacturers many months, possibly years, to build the facilities to produce vaccines even with the intellectual property that Biden is forcing innovators to give away.
Read the full op-ed HERE. Excerpts are below:
May 12, 2021
The record-breaking development of COVID-19 vaccines is a marvel of modern medicine, American ingenuity, and free enterprise. The vaccines saved thousands of lives, prevented countless sicknesses, and have already come close to ending the pandemic in America.
Since we will surely face another pandemic someday, we should be doing everything in our power to preserve and enhance the innovative environment that facilitated such amazing breakthroughs. Instead, the Biden administration is doing the opposite — it is supporting a waiver proposed at the World Trade Organization that would strip developers of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics of their intellectual property rights and force them to teach their foreign competitors how to make these groundbreaking products.
Consider the implications with respect to just one nation: China. Ruled by the Communist Party, China is a brutal authoritarian state that seeks to gain international power at the expense of the free world in general and the United States in particular. Unable to compete with American innovation, Beijing conducts a massive program to pilfer American innovation, technology, and trade secrets shamelessly through cybercrime, industrial espionage, infiltration of U.S. higher education institutions, and forced technology transfers from U.S. firms operating in China.
Moreover, it will take manufacturers many months, possibly years, to build the facilities to produce vaccines even with the intellectual property that Biden is forcing innovators to give away. So it won’t address the short-term problem of vaccine availability now, and it will discourage innovation in the future.