Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. International Politics
6 May 2021updated 04 Sep 2021 8:52am

How Big Pharma share prices tumbled after Joe Biden’s vaccine patent waiver

The US government has announced it will support the waiver of intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines. 

By Nick Ferris

Shares in vaccine manufacturers Moderna, Novavax, BioNTech and Pfizer all fell on Wednesday as investors reacted to Joe Biden’s announcement that the US would support lifting intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines.

Big Pharma share prices tumble after Biden backs Covid patent waiver
Indexed share price for Pfizer, BioNTech, Novavax and Moderna on 5 May 2021, where price for 9.30AM = 100

Until now, governments including the US, the UK, Switzerland and the EU have backed pharmaceutical companies by refusing to give way on intellectual property rights. More than 100 emerging economies first proposed a vaccine patent waiver at the World Trade Organisation in October, rightly fearing  vaccines would be hoarded by the wealthy nations that developed them.

Pharma companies argue patent rights are vital to guarantee income from new products – and that if this is undercut, future medical innovations could be inhibited. This is despite the fact that 97 per cent of funding for AstraZeneca’s vaccine was from public and charitable sources, while the mRNA technology behind the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines was also largely developed using taxpayer money. 

There are increasing concerns that the success of vaccine programmes in wealthy countries will be compromised if Covid-19 is allowed to continue spreading and mutating in other countries. 

“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures,” said US trade representative Katherine Tai.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action