The Biden Administration has been pressuring Moderna to transfer its vaccine making know how to other countries.
The argument goes that it is entitled to do so.
Starting with the Trump administration, the US government provided Moderna with essential monetary support that made possible the creation of the vaccine and thus, they ought to give away their intellectual rights to the rest of the world.
According to a report on the WSJ on Wednesday, 12 democrats in congress, led by senators Sanders and Warren, stated in a letter to the White House, ‘that the government may have the right to confiscate Moderna’s intellectual property because it had received huge sums of public funding from American taxpayers.’
In January 2020, the Trump administration did give Moderna $900 million to conduct trials for the vaccine when other companies were unwilling to take the financial risk. Moderna stepped up with a commitment and then raised $1.3 billion privately, enabling it to put together an outstanding product that has saved millions of lives. But it was chiefly the talent that Moderna assembled that made possible the scientific achievement.
Lots of money spent by government goes to waste.
Moderna, instead, transformed the investment into a huge success and fully deserve what profits they may acquire (and easily pay back the government’s money with interest).
Furthermore, the company has contributed significantly to middle and poor income countries by way of donations of the vaccine or selling it at cost.
The World Health Organization has been pressuring president Biden to give more to less developed countries. That is fine, but the US government, not Moderna, should pay for it.
Preserving our intellectual rights is key to our economy. It was here in the US and other free countries that recognize the value of monetary incentives to creativity, where the knowledge to create the vaccines developed. That has to be respected because it is the heartbeat of our system.
That senators Sanders and Warren don’t get it is too bad. Judging by their past performance they will never do.
Somehow, though, they have managed to influence the Biden administration, whose emissary was quoted as saying to the press, ‘We’ve been in very, very intense discussions with Moderna. Do not underestimate the resolve of the US government in addressing this issue.’ Oh, yes, let’s put the squeeze on Moderna, said the man, while sounding like a Chinese politburo member wannabee.
Would the administration dare try such bullying tactics on Pfizer/BioNtech? No, because those players had money of their own to produce their vaccine and can tell the government to go to hell. So pour it on Moderna, instead.
At your peril, Mr Biden.
If you want our country to be the leading contributor of vaccines to the neediest countries in the world, that is indeed a worthy cause. But let us all pay for it. Not just Moderna.
For the record. I’m not a Moderna stockholder, although I wish I was.
Go easy, Mr President, or democrats will lose both houses next year, and you’ll need Mitch McConnell as your de facto VP to get anything done.
Oscar Valdes. Oscarvaldes.net Also available on Apple podcast, anchor.fm, buzzsprout etc.