FreedomWorks is excited to announce H.R. 3035 and S.1683 – Preventing Foreign Attempts to Erode Healthcare Innovation Act as our Bill of the Month for June 2022, introduced by Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).
The United States made history by developing a COVID-19 vaccine under Operation Warp Speed in record time. There are a lot of factors that contributed to the development of the vaccine, but one of the most important ones was the strong intellectual property (IP) rights protections that allowed for the swift development of the vaccine.
Unfortunately, there are those in Washington who wish to see IP protections that foster an environment of innovation eroded.
The United States is a signatory to the World Trade Organization Agreement (WTO) on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. The agreement, among other things, protects intellectual property rights for the COVID-19 vaccine and related products. Dozens of countries petitioned the WTO to waive IP rights under TRIPS so “least developed” countries can access the COVID-19 vaccine formula for development. This waiver would only hurt the same American innovators who helped develop the vaccine in the first place. Given the Biden administration’s support for this waiver, this legislation is critical in demonstrating conservative opposition to this effort.
- This bill prohibits the Office of the United States Trade Representative from using funds to support, allow, or facilitate the negotiation or approval of any measure at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive intellectual property rights or support the “Waiver from Certain Provisions of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement for the Prevention, Containment, and Treatment of COVID-19” put forth by India and South Africa.
- While China is excluded from the waiver in the latest negotiations, this IP waiver would still make it easy for China to access American intellectual property.
Why it Matters
Millions of Americans are unplugging from the pandemic as time goes on. They realize that we have the resources to live with COVID-19, and that we no longer need to live in a state that continues to advance unsound policies related to COVID-19. The Biden Administration should maintain the same position as the Trump Administration and oppose this waiver at the WTO. The consequences of giving away our vaccine formula are severe. Not only will it hinder the ability of medical innovators to act quickly in response to a future pandemic, but it will also limit the ability of property rights holders to ensure quality control of their products.
The Preventing Foreign Attempts to Erode Healthcare Innovation Act currently has 23 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and three in the Senate. We hope to see more members join in support of protecting American innovation.