by Terry Wilcox & William Smith
June 22, 2021

While the last year was very difficult for millions of Americans, it was also a period of rapid innovation as leaders in government and the private sector worked to combat a global pandemic. As a result, about half the U.S. adult population is now fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and, in most places, a sense of normalcy is returning.

Given these successes, many were surprised when President Biden recently announced his support for the World Health Organization (WHO) proposal to waive intellectual property (IP) protections for COVID-19 vaccines. After a year that showed the world what was possible when government policy prioritizes scientific advancement, the administration’s actions could end up undercutting future innovation without any immediate public health benefit.

Sadly, this is not an isolated instance – there are other forces actively working to undermine delivery of breakthrough treatments to patients at a faster pace. For the past few months, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), a self-appointed gatekeeper for prescription medicine in the U.S., has been on a public relations offensive to weaken incentives to invest in new treatments.