Rake, B. (2021): Waiving intellectual property rights: Boom or bust for medical innovation?, Drug Discovery Today, forthcoming
Proposals to waive intellectual property rights (IPRs) on coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)-related developments have gained considerable support among politicians, including from US President Biden, academics, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the media, and the general public. However, there are surprisingly few reflections about the short- and long-term consequences for medical innovation, particularly the development of new drugs and vaccines. In this feature, I reflect on the consequences for innovative entrepreneurial companies, the incentives to innovate, and consequences for international knowledge flows to low- and middle-income countries. I conclude that waiving IPRs reduces opportunities for entrepreneurial companies to attract sufficient funding for developing medical innovations. Low- and middle-income countries might suffer reduced knowledge inflows in the absence of IPRs that undermine their ability to develop medical innovations.