Magazine June 1, 2021, Issue

Don’t Strip Intellectual-Property Rights from Vaccine-Makers

(Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images)
If you want miracle medicines, you must let their creators profit

President Joe Biden proposes to relieve U.S. pharmaceutical companies of their intellectual-property rights relating to COVID-19 vaccines. This would be a destructive policy even if it were necessary, but it is not necessary — it is not even likely to prove beneficial for the purpose at hand, which is helping to speed the pace of global vaccinations.

The COVID-19 epidemic has provided an unexpected acid test for any number of U.S. and global institutions. Some of those institutions, notably our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and a host of European Union agencies, have been found wanting.

This article appears as “Patent Medicine” in the June 1, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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