From the correspondent Ileana Sciarra – Mario Draghi’s path on the patent exemption arrives during the informal dinner among EU leaders in Porto, two days after Joe Biden’s breakthrough on the intellectual property of vaccines. Yesterday a ‘skimpy’ statement, almost as if the Prime Minister was taking his time, carefully studying all the pieces on the field before taking a position. Today he does so clearly, he seems to extend his hand to the President of the States but at the same time, with the firmness that distinguishes him, he asks that the export game be released, that Europe on this front is not left alone.
His speech is also hard at times, as if to shake up Big Pharma by reminding millions of people who do not have the opportunity to get vaccinated and who, for this reason, risk losing their lives. But, as the great economist he is, Draghi also enters into the mechanisms of a derogation which, if well thought out and completed, certainly would not represent a disincentive for those who produce.
A clear speech and in some ways even against the tide, considering that just today the president of the Commission Ursula Von der Leyen, after Angela Merkel’s stop, she too firmly crushed Biden’s opening on patents. “Vaccines are needed now – he said – The temporary derogation on patents does not solve the problem in the short and medium term. What is needed is a sharing of serums, the export of doses and investments to increase”. But he also asked to open a discussion that would give the opportunity to come out with “a 360-degree view”. Draghi demonstrates that he has studied all the variables, including the limits, or rather the dangers, that an exemption from patents would entail, in terms of production safety and complexity. Production, he points out, which must be increased throughout Europe.
In Europe we must continue to accelerate vaccinations with transparency and reliability – Draghi’s reasoning at the table of leaders -. It is also necessary to increase production in every part of Europe. Other countries must remove export blocks: the EU exports 80% of its production to countries affected by export blocks. In this context, I welcome President Biden’s proposal.
We are facing a unique event: millions of people who are not in a position to buy vaccines are dying, remarked Draghi strongly asking not to ignore that cry of pain that “resounds”. We know that financial resources are not and will never be enough, but Europe is Europe and it cannot turn away.
Pharmaceutical companies have received enormous funding from governments, the Prime Minister then recalls in his ‘first’ in attendance at a European meeting, and at this point one would almost expect that they would return at least part of it to those in need. But then he adds that people who are familiar with the subject have explained to him that a “temporary and well thought out” measure would not represent a disincentive for the pharmaceutical industry. There could be the keystone, the solution. However, there are two further problems that must be addressed in order for the proposal to be considered realistic for Draghi: the safety of production and the incredible complexity of the production process. But a reflection must be made, because “as Europeans we cannot ignore this problem”.