Yesterday, Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) wrote to President Joseph Biden to share his concerns regarding the Biden Administration's support for waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines and urge the President to reconsider his position on the proposed waiver. In his letter, Sen. Daines (at right) asserted that "[s]uspending World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations to protect IP on COVID-19 vaccines would not only fail to significantly speed up vaccine distribution to the rest of the world, but it would set a dangerous precedent on IP protection at the international level and undermine American innovation." Sen. Daines also argued that the proposed waiver would "provide for a technological windfall for adversaries such as China and Russia by giving away IP that has taken years of hard work and ingenuity by American scientists, not to mention billions in American investment, to perfect."
Instead of a waiver, Sen. Daines suggested that the Administration should "prioritize fighting COVID-19 internationally by getting more shots in arms in countries who need them without transferring critical technologies and undermining our global leadership position." He noted that as states decline additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines, "the U.S. should focus on increasing production and capacity to provide support for global vaccine supply and leading the world in vaccine manufacturing and distribution." Sen. Daines concluded his letter by urging the Biden Administration to withdraw its support for waiving IP protections for COVID-19 vaccines and "terminate any plans to participate in negotiations at the WTO necessary to move this dangerous proposal forward."