German leader Angela Merkel on Friday resisted calls to remove patent protections on Covid-19 vaccines as a way of boosting global supplies.
Rich countries arwe under pressurevto address the imbalance in global vaccination rates with the global Covax scheme falling short of its targets.
Washington this month backed the idea of waiving patents , but the German chancellor spoke out against the idea at a Global Solutions Initiative event where she said companies needed incentives to produce the shots.
She said that suspending patent rights could discourage companies from developing medicines for future virus mutations or new diseases.
“Those who have been developing these vaccines with breathtaking speed – if we were to turn to them and say you’ll have to forsake your patents right now, I don’t think that would be the best thing to do,” she said.
“We’re talking about companies here that have the capability to produce these vaccines, and all of a sudden we take away the patents from them.
“I don’t want the message to go out that in the next crisis situation, it is no longer worthwhile for companies to invest or to work hard to develop goods or produce medicine.”
Ms Merkel said Germany had provided Covax with more than €2.2 billion ($2.67bn) in funding, but that money was not the main issue.
“We have found that it doesn’t help a lot to have a lot of money in the account of Covax, because we don’t have enough vaccines,” she said. “We need to produce more, much more than we have done so far.
“I believe we need incentives for the respective companies to further invest in development.”