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September 24, 2021
“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
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
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
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
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.
June 28, 2021
In light of the recent Supreme Court decision that substantially weakens the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and re-strengthens the USPTO Director’s power over patent decisions, selecting a public-oriented nominee is more important than ever.
May 17, 2021
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:
May 10, 2021
The fact that most of the names Ars Technica reported are under consideration are deeply corporate-aligned is simply infuriating. To take just one example, here is a brief summary of Jannie Lau’s work on behalf of InterDigital.
May 05, 2021
The Revolving Door Project praises and congratulates the Biden administration for this excellent decision. This one choice may save millions of lives.
April 23, 2021 | The American Prospect
The Biden administration is divided over whether to waive trade protections for Big Pharma—with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo as a key industry ally.
April 16, 2021
Break Big Pharma's Stranglehold On COVID-19 Vaccines With Existing Powers, 16 Groups Tell Biden Admin
A coalition of 16 organizations called on Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients to maximally use the executive branch’s existing powers to end the pharmaceutical industry’s stranglehold on supply on COVID-19 vaccines in an open letter today.
April 16, 2021
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
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.