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SPIEGEL survey on corona vaccines: majority against weakening patent protection


Could the pandemic be defeated faster - and more fairly - without vaccine patent protection? At least the majority of Germans are against such a move. This is shown by a SPIEGEL survey.

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Meanwhile better supplied with vaccine: Doctor in a vaccination center in Potsdam

Photo: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

The majority of Germans apparently shares the federal government's skepticism about the release of patents for corona vaccines in order to accelerate the vaccination campaign in poorer countries.

This is shown by a representative SPIEGEL survey by the opinion research institute Civey.

More than half of the citizens would like to see the patent protection for the corona vaccines "under no circumstances" or "rather not" relaxed.

According to the survey, around a third are in favor of the suspension of intellectual property rights.

The debate about easing patent protection had gained momentum last week after US President Joe Biden supported an initiative launched by South Africa and India.

The World Health Organization (WHO) called the US approval "historic".

Proponents hope to defeat the pandemic faster with the revocation of patent protection for corona vaccines. Only if other pharmaceutical companies can replicate the vaccines that have already been developed will there be enough in the medium term to deal with the virus worldwide - that is what non-governmental organizations such as Doctors Without Borders say. Because the vaccine is scarce, especially in poorer countries; According to the current status, it will take until 2023 or 2024 for the crisis to subside.

The opponents - including the German federal government - fear that if there is no patent protection, the manufacturers' incentive for further developments will be lost. That could still take revenge during the pandemic: for example, in the further development of the vaccine against new corona mutants. In the medium term, it would also inhibit the development of other vaccines and drugs if companies could not rely on the protection of their costly research.

In addition, even the short-term advantage seems questionable to skeptics: Just because the patent protection has been lifted, there is no longer any vaccine.

The persistent problems show how difficult it is to manufacture even for patent holders in industrialized countries.

AstraZeneca repeatedly broke its delivery promises to the EU because of production problems.

Johnson & Johnson had to destroy 15 million finished cans because they were contaminated at the factory.

Chancellor Angela Merkel classified a possible abolition of property rights as "risky". Instead, companies should expand their production, issue licenses and pay attention to quality.

This is the safest way to get more vaccine for everyone.

In Germany, there is a majority in favor of the release of patents only among the voters of the left.

Of them, 68 percent support the suspension of patent protection, which is in line with the party's line.

Left boss Susanne Hennig-Wellsow, for example, campaigned for the patent freeze.

The proportion of patent holders is the largest among Union voters.

Opinions are divided among supporters of the Greens, whose party leadership has spoken out in favor of repeal.

It also shows that with increasing age, Germans are less likely to speak out in favor of abolishing patent protection.

You can read more about the advantages and disadvantages of the discussed revocation of vaccine patents here.

You can find out more about the Civey method here.


Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2021-05-13

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