May 05,2021

Crapo Statement on TRIPS Waiver

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, issued the following statement following the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) announcement that it supports waiving patent protections on COVID-19 vaccines:   

“All Members of Congress are committed to improving global distribution of vaccines.  I support actions that make a real difference, such as expanding manufacturing capacity, strengthening supply chains and supporting initiatives like COVAX.  Today’s announcement that the Administration supports waiving the WTO TRIPS Agreement will not accelerate vaccinations.  That is because waiving the intellectual property rights of America’s innovators—which was supported by U.S. taxpayers—will not result in any new manufacturing capabilities in time to respond to the pandemic.  What this decision will do, if it goes forward, is benefit countries like China that are aggressively trying to obtain U.S. technology to bolster their own domestic champions.  Not only is the biopharmaceutical industry one of China’s targets for dominance in its Made in China 2025 strategy, but the Department of Justice handed out indictments last summer in connection with the Chinese government’s attempts to steal U.S. COVID research.   

“I am disappointed the Administration did not consult with Congress before making this announcement.  Congress approved the WTO TRIPS Agreement.  Now the Administration wants to waive a congressionally-approved agreement, without first even providing its justifications for doing so.”