Liberty Discussion on “Share the Intellectual Property on COVID-19” by Jefferey D. Sachs

The Liberty Discussion session was held via zoom on May 28, 2021. Jefferey D. Sachs’ article “Share the Intellectual Property on COVID-19” was selected as the reader for the session.

The discussion was centered around whether Intellectual Property (IP) rights for the newly developed COVID vaccines should be waived or not and whether such waiver can drive up the inoculation to curb the spread of the virus. Most of the participants had limited technical knowledge regarding the production of vaccines. Therefore, major arguments were made from the lens of political economy. Most of the participants acknowledged the fact that the pandemic is a “collective action problem” and therefore needs to be treated differently. Since time is of essence to prevent the virus from mutating, the majority favored waiver of IP rights as a solution that would make both the vaccine manufacturers as well as the global population better off. At the same time, several participants opined that problems might arise in the transference of technology, complex patent problems, and geopolitical issues.