The rapid development of new COVID-19 vaccines and treatments over the past year is a triumph of innovation. Billions of vaccine doses are being manufactured and should be distributed to all adults globally over the next 18 months. But some argue that suspending intellectual property (IP) rights to allow any company to manufacture vaccines will mean faster access for developing countries. These arguments have culminated in a proposal at the World Trade Organization for a temporary global waiver on COVID-19-related IP rights.
On September 16, 2021, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute hosted a discussion on the role of IP rights in vaccine and therapeutic R&D, manufacturing, and preparedness for future pandemics. MLI brought together a panel of international experts who discussed the best ways to scale up mass vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing and examined the implications that would arise from a global waiver of IP rights.