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For the first Managing IP podcast, Charlotte Kilpatrick and IP experts discussed the ramifications of the COVID-19 crisis on the patent system and how the virus could change how pharma innovators conduct research and collaborate.
A highlight was a debate on the role patent pools could play to accelerate research for COVID treatments and vaccines. Ellen 't Hoen, director of the Medicines Law and Policy research institute in the Netherlands, stressed the importance for pharma innovators to use patent pools as a way to ensure global access to the vaccines once they become available. She pointed to the example of the Medicines Patent Pool, which negotiates licences for HIV and tuberculosis medications with generics companies, which can produce treatments at an affordable cost for developing countries.
David Rosenberg, former vice president of IP policy at GSK, agreed that a patent pool could be one solution among many to ensure access, but added he doesn’t believe a pool will be the ideal way for companies to conduct business and that innovators are more confident to negotiate with generics companies they already know.
Corey Salsberg, vice president and global head of IP affairs at Novartis in Washington DC, noted that because tackling COVID-19 could involve multiple vaccines as well as treatments for those with advanced symptoms, a single patent pool might not be the best solution to ensure access.
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