Wednesday | May 19, 2021

Scott, Toomey Introduce Bill to Stop Biden from Releasing American COVID-19 Vaccine Intellectual Property

WASHINGTON—Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) introduced the Preventing Foreign Attempts to Erode Healthcare Innovation Act to prevent the Biden administration from relinquishing intellectual property (IP) protections on COVID-19 vaccines, a move that would hand over our IP to malign actors like the Chinese Communist Party and undermine American innovation. 

“The United States has already pledged more money than any other country toward global vaccine efforts,” said Senator Tim Scott. “President Biden’s willingness to cave to the World Trade Organization instead of guarding one of our most valuable assets from getting into the hands of bad actors is concerning. The president needs to draw a clear line in dealing with Beijing, and releasing our data ensures that China will benefit off the hard work and innovation of American workers, and will also ensure our next vaccine takes longer to develop.” 

“The Biden Administration should protect the intellectual property of American companies, especially those that produced COVID vaccines in record time,” saidSenator Toomey. “Instead, the administration is advocating foreign countries expropriate these precious American assets. Our bill would limit the administration from pursuing this misguided policy, ensuring American companies can continue their vaccine distribution efforts without fear of losing their intellectual property.”

The House companion bill was introduced last week by Representative Byron Donalds (R-Fla.). 

“It deeply concerns me to hear of the Biden Administration’s plan to forgo IP protections on COVID-19 vaccines. This plan is a direct infringement upon American ingenuity and innovation and hands over our nation’s intellectual prowess for the world’s taking,” said Rep. Byron Donalds. “This Administration has made it a point to put America last, and this is just another glaring example of this sad reality. I appreciate my Senate colleagues Sen. Tim Scott and Sen. Pat Toomey, for championing my bill in the United States Senate and joining my efforts to prevent the Biden Administration from senselessly giving away America’s intellectual property to countries like China.”   

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) are also cosponsors of the Preventing Foreign Attempts to Erode Healthcare Innovation Act. 

Background:

  • The bill bars the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) from supporting the waiver of certain World Trade Organization (WTO) intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines, as the Biden Administration announced it would.
  • The bill accomplishes this by “prohibiting the authorization of appropriations to USTR for supporting a measure at the WTO waiving certain intellectual property rights.”

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