Nelson and Wallace Quoted on U.S. Government Potential to Seize COVID-19 Pharmaceutical Patents


Partners Kevin Nelson and Joel Wallace were quoted on the potential for the federal government to override or seize pharmaceutical patents to ensure that any vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 is widely available and accessible.

Kevin said, “When there's [a treatment] out there that looks like it's going to work for the majority of people and the price of it becomes prohibitive for the average American to get that treatment, I think that's when there's going to be a call for the government to step in.”

He added, “The mechanism is there, it’s available, the problem is the United States government hasn't been willing to use it in the past. At what point in time do you reach that inflection point?”

The federal government’s past rejection of calls to seize patents — the calls often stemming from high drug prices — has been viewed as a reluctance to undermine price competition and the incentive to innovate in the risky and expensive drug sector.

Joel said that the pharmaceutical industry "is not like a typical market where someone else could just come in and introduce a competitive product.”

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