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Biden Is Threatening to Take a Sledgehammer to Intellectual Property Rights for Vaccine Makers

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The Biden administration announced that it supports waiving patent protections on the COVID-19 vaccines, citing a global health crisis. This move goes beyond Biden’s record of being wrong about almost everything for 50 years. It speaks to the catastrophic problem of having a country led by scores of people who have never built anything. Instead, their fortunes are created through selling access and they have no idea what it is like to put their capital and labor at risk.

It should also make you wonder what Biden will be willing to take from you under the guise of the next manufactured crisis, climate change. We’ll get to the manufactured portion of this crisis in a moment, but let’s start with property rights. Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution lays the foundation for our intellectual property rights. It gives this explicit power to Congress:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

This power has generally been exercised through the passage of patent law and copyright law and through the establishment of offices to implement those laws, such as the U.S. Patent Office. The Founders included this power for several reasons.

First, there were inventors, authors, and other assorted entrepreneurs among the Founding Fathers. They understood innately that the monetary value of an individual’s intellect, labor, and creativity should belong to that individual. Second, it is basic human nature that very few people will put forth sustained and strenuous effort without a reward.

The most tangible and sometimes critical reward is profit. An inventor should profit from his or her creation, if for no other reason than to compensate for the labor and personal financial investment that individual made to bring the product or work of art to market. This protection creates prosperity for many. Whether it is the patent or copyright holder or all of the workers the inventor needs to bring the invention or craft to market successfully, many people benefit from the originator’s right to his or her intellectual property.

Put your feelings about the pharmaceutical industry aside for a moment. Two of the vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, are the first successful application of a technology called mRNA. Katalin Karikó, a Hungarian-born scientist, made a key mRNA discovery in the early 1990s. From that discovery to the first commercial application of it, the journey required the labor, intellect, and financial investment of several key figures over 30 years.

Now, the Biden administration is poised to rob them of the fruits of their personal and financial investments by waiving the intellectual property protections. How do we know? According to CNBC:

Stocks of major pharmaceutical companies that have produced vaccines, including Moderna, BioNTech and Pfizer, dropped sharply after news of the potential waivers first broke. Pfizer ended its trading day flat, while Moderna lost 6.1%; Johnson & Johnson shed a modest 0.4%.

Here is the reaction from someone who has never made or created anything other than a mixed drink:

Once the Biden administration forces companies to give up their trade secrets, the vaccines are analogous to generic drugs. There will be many producers in countries like China and India that can subsidize or undercut labor costs. The vaccines will also be prone to quality and purity issues, as we have often seen with cheaply-produced generics. Further, mRNA is a new commercial technology. The world has no idea how it may be applied in harmful ways, as most revolutionary technologies can be applied. Splitting the atom creates energy to light a home as well as devastating weapons.

There is no assurance that mRNA is not one of these technologies, and our enemies will have it. Johnson and Johnson, along with Astra Zeneca, are not as big of a risk. They use a more traditional method of inserting a protein strand into a harmless virus and eliciting an immune response that way. If the Biden administration wishes to provide a vaccine formula, using a standard technology would not pose the same potential threat. It does not appear they are making that distinction.

However, the shortage is a manufactured crisis and one that Dr. Anthony Fauci seems determined to perpetuate. Now, he is talking about the need for booster shots later this year. No study to date indicates that these will be required. All measured immunity from natural infection and vaccination appears to remain robust so far, and infection rates following either are near zero. Researchers have already predicted that COVID-19 will become endemic. This term means that children and younger, healthier people who do not suffer the severe effects of the virus will be exposed and generate an immune reaction.

Even if that immunity wanes a bit, the next time the person encounters COVID-19, his or her natural immunity will be activated, resulting in a milder disease. This assertion is based on the known biology of the immune system and how other viruses, like the Spanish Flu, continue to circulate and are not nearly as deadly as when they first appeared. For example, most children encounter the RSV virus for the first time before age 3. This virus has the potential to be more severe for very young children. Following the first exposure, in older children and adults, it causes the symptoms of a common cold.

Healthy children and younger adults do not need the vaccine and never did. Neither do any recovered patients. In fact, those who have recovered may be at higher risk for a severe side effect from the vaccine than they are from reinfection. The people who need the vaccine are unexposed people over 65 and those with high-risk preexisting conditions. We know this by looking at global data regarding who suffers from severe illness and death from COVID-19, also called the science.

In 2019, there were approximately 730 million people over the age of 65 globally. According to Glenn Beck’s reporting, the vaccine providers were committed to producing 3 billion doses this year and are working to increase capacity for more. Worst-case scenario, vaccinating the elderly requires 1.46 billion doses, fewer if the single-shot varieties are used. There would not be a shortage if vaccines were recommended according to the criteria of any other medication, which are efficacy and benefit. The latter is minimal or non-existent for vast portions of the population.

Yet, the Biden administration will use this manufactured global health crisis to strip the inventors of the mRNA vaccine of intellectual property protections for their proprietary technology and formulation. This situation should give us all pause. We already hear incessantly about the next crisis, climate change. If the Biden administration is willing to strip intellectual property in the name of a global health crisis, what property rights might they be ready to deny in a worldwide climate emergency? Your physical and financial assets? With the radical step they are taking now, it is no longer a stretch of the imagination.