- The IPR waiver on COVID-19 vaccines has met a mixed response from other countries
- New Zealand has supported the waiver
- Pharma companies oppose, let’s see how NZ pharma companies are taking it
On 7 May, Joe Biden made a very important announcement that he supported the waiver of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) for COVID-19 vaccines. This would enable the poor countries to manufacture those vaccines in their countries and help to some extent to tide over the crisis.
The world opinion is divided over this announcement. Some countries welcomed it as a humanitarian step, but the EU is cautiously opposing this decision ever since it was mooted eight months back in the WTO. The EU, Switzerland, Norway, and Japan, not to mention the pharmaceutical companies, the U.S under Donald Trump, had all opposed it vociferously.
Also Read: Biden Backs Waiver of Patent for COVID-19 Vaccines, Pharma Companies Don’t Like It That Much?
While the EU has shifted its stand slightly, it still remains to be seen whether it will eventually follow the U.S.’ path or not? Amongst individual countries, Germany has not made it clear whether it would support or not. France, on the other hand, has done well in supporting the IPR waiver for COVID-19 vaccines. French President Emmanuel Macron said he was in favour of opening IPRs. New Zealand and Australia have both supported the decision. The trade minister Damien O’Connor said that NZ supported the waiver of protection on vaccines as a collective effort towards helping the humanity
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However, as expected the pharma industry has opposed the waiver. It feels that this step will not help in increasing the production of vaccines. It feels that it needs many other things like technology transfers to produce vaccines. The global pharma body, Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufactures and Associations said that waiving patents of the coronavirus vaccines would not increase the production of vaccines . What was needed was a change in the supply-chain management. Shares of main vaccine makers like Moderna Inc, Novavax Inc, and Pfizer dropped several points at the news. CureVac NV of Germany, which is also in the process of developing another mRNA vaccine, fell by as much as 13% in the U.S.. Some of the Asian pharma stocks, including Shanghai Fosun Pharmacuetical Group Co, also fell.
Let’s see how New Zealand pharma companies are responding to this:
AFT Pharmaceuticals Limited (NZX:AFT)
AFT, which is a major pharma company of New Zealand, of late, has been very successful in
marketing its Maxigesics IV in many parts of the world through partnerships. Recently, it announced that it was entering into the U.S. markets to sell Maxigesics iv. It has entered into several other markets for its products. However, AFT was down by 0.43% at NZ$ 4.630.
Also Read: Stock Gaines 17% as AFT Announces Entry of Maxigesic® IV in US Market
RUA Bioscience Ltd (NZX:RUA)
RUA is another major pharma company that is into R&D for using cannabis for medicinal purposes. The company was doing well as its innovative technology is making it popular in several European countries. The stock was down by 2.44%.
BLIS Technologies Limited (NZX:BLT)
BLT has been a high performing stock as the Company is on an expansion mode. It has entered into several countries with its probiotic strains, the latest one being India. India’s food regulatory agency had granted approval for both BLIS M18 and BLIS K12 probiotic strains, which could be used in supplements. Prior to that, BLT had also launched its new store at the China’s Tmall and gained major foothold into the Chinese market.
The stock showed little impact of the announcement and was up by 1.52% NZ$0.067.