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September 24, 2021

Jeff Hauser

Press Release

CoronavirusIntellectual Property

Biden Administration’s Inaction on Vaccine Equity is Cowardly and Shameful

“Over four months after announcing its support for the COVID-19 TRIPS Waiver, the Biden administration’s once promising step towards achieving vaccine equity is proving to be little more than an empty promise. Officials across the administration are cowering in the face of Big Pharma’s insatiable appetite for profit rather than pursuing one of many paths to rapidly ensure equitable access to vaccines worldwide.”

July 22, 2021

Timi Iwayemi Fatou Ndiaye

Report

Anti-MonopolyIndependent AgenciesIntellectual PropertyPharmaTrade Policy

The Industry Agenda: Big Pharma

In 2019, Gallup found that the pharmaceutical industry was “the most poorly regarded industry in Americans’ eyes,” and rightfully so. Pharmaceutical companies often set drug prices exorbitantly high, including life-saving drugs which patients literally cannot go without, such as insulin. This includes older drugs that are cheaper to produce — such as epinephrine (emergency medication used to treat severe allergic reactions and asthma attacks). These firms achieve this by stifling competition at the consumer’s expense, jealously protecting their money-makers from the generics which the pharmaceutical system is supposed to develop after a patent expires.

July 16, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Press Release

Intellectual PropertyRevolving Door

With Rumored USPTO Pick, Biden Prioritized Patronage Over Patent Reform

After months of delay, Biden is rumored to have selected a new Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) acceptable to Delaware Senator Chris Coons. If true, that will mean Biden has sacrificed a critical opportunity to catalyze bold patent reform in the service of political patronage. Reports have indicated that Biden offered Coons, who expressed hope that coronavirus might be a “sword” for stronger IP protections, the power to decide the next USPTO Director as a consolation prize for not having been named Secretary of State.

July 16, 2021

Zena Wolf

Blog Post

Intellectual PropertyPatentPatent and Trademark Office

Revolver Spotlight: Chris Coons

Rumors that Delaware Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) has had a hand in nominating the new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director are extremely worrisome given Coons’ coziness with the Big Pharma industry and willingness to vote against his own party to benefit large corporations. Coons has a long record of proposing and passing legislation (often with far-right Republicans) to benefit Big Pharma companies, at the expense of consumers and small businesses. While harmful to the general public, Coons’ legislation has directly benefited his family’s medical device manufacturer, enriching himself. His record and blatant disregard for consumer welfare should exclude him from any conversations about executive branch personnel.

July 13, 2021

Daniel Takash

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionIntellectual Property

GUEST CONTRIBUTION: What Can a New USPTO Director Do?

As of this writing, the Biden Administration has yet to announce a pick for director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. As Fatou Ndiaye has pointed out, this is likely due to behind-the-scenes tension between patent hawks in the Democratic caucus, specifically Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), and the broader progressive, reformist forces in the administration that made it possible for the United States to back a waiver on obligations under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

May 17, 2021

Fatou Ndiaye

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionIntellectual PropertyPharma

Revolver Spotlight: Kevin Rhodes

When choosing the next PTO director, the Biden administration should rule out those who have a history of prioritizing profits and corporate interests over public health and safety. One such individual is Kevin Rhodes, an ally of Big Pharma who has vigorously defended efforts to keep drug prices high. His current employer, 3M, has abused its monopoly on the military earplug market to sell overpriced and faulty products to veterans. This should be immediately disqualifying for any future PTO director. Here are a few of the most alarming aspects of Kevin Rhodes’s career:

April 16, 2021

Fatou Ndiaye Zena Wolf

Blog Post

CoronavirusExecutive BranchIntellectual PropertyRevolving Door

The Brother Of A Pharma Lobbyist Advises Biden As He Weighs Vaccine IP Waiver

Despite pushback from progressives, Ricchetti has continued to hold a powerful advisory position in the Biden White House. His background in corporate lobbying and strong ties to the pharmaceutical industry are deeply troubling signs as the Biden Administration faces enormously consequential decisions about how to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 15, 2021

Timi Iwayemi

Blog Post

Foreign PolicyIntellectual Property

Why Is Politico's Ryan Heath Carrying Water For Big Pharma Monopolies?

The world is currently at an inflection point – Western leaders can choose to continue blocking the TRIPS waiver and lock in a cycle of dependence or empower poorer countries to develop generic vaccines and build infrastructure that will safely put the pandemic behind us. Critiques of the TRIPS waiver claim that most poor countries lack the infrastructure to carry out vaccine operations – a paternalistic view that suggests that manufacturing capacity, supply chain management, and logistics are static in nature. The sooner we act, the more time poorer countries have to begin mobilizing resources needed to make generic vaccine development possible.