Pharmaceutical companies, like many other types of companies, are incentivized to create, manufacture, and distribute new products, in part due to the legal protections of patent law. However, the tension between patent rights and the public good has been heightened as pharma companies developed new vaccines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Wealthy governments paid well for vaccines and received ample supplies, while low- and middle-income countries struggled to obtain access to any vaccines. Some countries called for pharmaceutical companies to waive their patent protections for vaccines in order to facilitate the worldwide manufacture and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. This paper will examine the rationale of patent protection and patent waiver issues, then compare these concepts with ethical constructs and a Jewish perspective.
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Date of publication
Cowart, Tammy W. and Bock, Gregory L., "Should Pharma Companies Waive Their COVID-19 Vaccine Patents? A Legal and Ethical Appraisal" (2023). Accounting, Finance & Business Law Faculty Publications and Presentations. Paper 9.