Covid-19 vaccines: Patent Rights Vs. Public Interest

The recent pandemic has reignited the long-debated issue of Patent Rights Vs. Public Interest. We all have been deliberating on whether Patent rights are Public rights or Private rights – perhaps now is the time to decide.

Considering the lightning speed at which Pharma companies around the globe have responded with the development of a vaccine, they have surely earned the right to demand for rewards for such a hard work.

Generally, where a Vaccine takes years to develop before it is made available to the public, here, this has been achieved (almost) within months through unparalleled hard work.

This discussion is around the Patent rights available to the Pharma companies to reap the benefits of hard work and investment vs. public rights to get access to the life-saving vaccines at affordable rates. What is right vs. what is ethical?

The big question here is, whether the respective Govts step in to intervene in fixing the price (affordable) of vaccines once it is available, or would it be unjust and unfair for the Pharma companies and they deserve the return for their investment?

Further, how would the Govt intervention pan out in the long run considering the deterrent effect it might have in future in similar situations? It is a debate of heart vs mind, humanity vs. business, right vs. ethics.

Speakers: Santosh Vikram Singh + Outside Panelists