Written Question: Sharing vaccine patents in view of the COVID-19 emergency
(Source: European Parliament)
Date submitted: 1 March 2021
Question for written answer E-001193/2021
to the Commission
Simona Baldassarre (ID), Silvia Sardone (ID), Gianantonio Da Re (ID), Alessandro Panza (ID)
Subject: Sharing vaccine patents in view of the COVID-19 emergency
The European vaccination strategy has fully demonstrated its weakness. So now, we need a common debate on new avenues to explore – alternative immunisation strategies, as mentioned by the Commission.
The new Italian Government, through the Ministry of Economic Development, has started working on a project for the production of vaccines within the EU, aimed at building a system together with the national pharmaceutical industry, making the best possible use of the technological potential available.
However, this project requires the collaboration of the pharmaceutical companies which hold the intellectual property rights for the vaccines and which have so far failed to comply with the agreements reached, in particular regarding the timely distribution of doses.
Given that intellectual property is an essential part of our system, we believe that its enforcement must nevertheless be seen in the context of the extraordinary health emergency we are experiencing, as also provided for in Article 31 of the TRIPS agreement.
Can the Commission therefore answer the following questions:
- Will it support the Italian Government in this process?
- Will it promote this initiative in other Member States, too?
- Will it involve pharmaceutical companies in an effective and realistic large-scale production plan, which provides for the granting of the patents and relevant know-how on vaccine production?
(1) This question is supported by Members other than the authors: Isabella Tovaglieri (ID), Mara Bizzotto (ID)