Berlin (dpa) – The federal government is skeptical about the release of vaccine patents. “The protection of intellectual property is a source of innovation and must remain so in the future,” said a spokeswoman for the government of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”.
The limiting factor in vaccine manufacturing is the production capacity and high quality standards, not the patents themselves. The federal government is working in many ways on “how we can improve production capacity in Germany and within the European Union, but also worldwide, and that includes the companies involved,” said the spokeswoman.
The US government had proposed that drug companies temporarily lose patent protection for their corona vaccines. Manufacturers around the world would then be able to produce the vaccines without paying royalties to the companies that developed the resources. The pharmaceutical companies reject the proposal.
Federal Minister of Development Cooperation Gerd Müller (CSU) also criticized Washington’s advance. “Just the release of a patent doesn’t mean one extra vaccination box,” he told the “Spiegel”. “The patent alone is not enough. You also need to know how to produce. “
The Greens, on the other hand, were pleased with the move. “Joe Biden has made the start, now the federal government and the European Commission must stand behind the emerging and developing countries at the next World Trade Organization meeting and suspend patents for diagnostics, medicines and other Covid-19 technology,” said the Deputy Federal President of the Greens, Jamila Schäfer, the “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Friday).
Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) remained vague at first. “Providing the whole world with vaccines is the only sustainable way out of this pandemic,” he said. The further expansion of production facilities and more exports from countries where production takes place are particularly decisive. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, on the other hand, was more open to weakening patent protection. “If that’s a way of getting more people to get vaccines faster, then that’s a question we need to ask ourselves,” said the SPD politician.
Clear criticism came from virologist Alexander Kekulé: “If you release the patent, even more manufacturers will fight over it,” he said on the MDR podcast. Instead, he called for better coordination of vaccine production. For example, an organization under the umbrella of the United Nations is conceivable.