From the Document: "On May 5, 2021, the Biden Administration announced [hyperlink] its support for a waiver of intellectual property rights (IPR) obligations [hyperlink] in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) [hyperlink] for COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] vaccines. This is a significant development, given U.S. leadership historically in advancing stronger IPR protections and enforcement globally. The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to undertake intensive, costly, and risky research and development (R&D) to create new vaccines and other products to respond to COVID-19. Certain stakeholders have expressed concerns over the impact of IPR on access to these treatments and technologies. The potential waiver was first proposed by India and South Africa in October 2020. Subsequent discussion of it in the WTO has attracted support from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) seeking greater access to vaccines and related products, but has prompted skepticism largely from high-income countries, reflecting pharmaceutical industry and other concerns about the impact on incentives to innovate, and on quality and safety."
CRS Insight, IN11662
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/