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News > U.S.

Biden Supports Suspension of Covid-19 Vaccine Patents

  • US President Joe Biden

    US President Joe Biden | Photo: EFE

Published 5 May 2021

Immediately after the news broke, shares of these vaccine companies plummeted in the market.

President Joe Biden's administration on Wednesday supported a proposal submitted by several countries to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to suspend the intellectual property of vaccines against covid-19 when the United States has already administered 250 million doses.

The announcement was greeted with sharp falls in the shares of the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna and Novavax on the Wall Street stock exchange.

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Biden made good on his campaign promise to endorse the patent suspension. Still, he has only done so when the U.S. vaccination rate plummets, and the country is sitting on tens of millions of doses yet to be administered.

Biden's decision comes after days of intense debate within the administration, which has come under pressure from some U.S. business groups and pharmaceutical giants.

The pharmaceutical industry opposes the temporary suspension of patents because it believes it could damage its business model. It also claims that it will not solve distribution problems in the short term, because very specific means and know-how are needed to produce antiviral vaccines.


Immediately after the news broke, shares of these companies plummeted in the market, although they later managed to partially recover from the lows set before the end of the trading session on Wall Street.

Moderna, which for most of the day had recorded slight gains, closed with a drop of 6.19%, while Novavax lost 4.94% and Germany's BioNTech lost 3.45%.

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