In the context of the European discussion on managing the crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has supported – in an interview with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – a proposal by Professor Elias Mosialos, of the London School of Economics, that the EU jointly purchase patents for new coronavirus vaccines and rapid detection tests, thus promoting the fastest possible dissemination of the means for its control.
The professor of health policy and director of LSE Health, who was recently appointed by the prime minister to represent the Greek government at international organisations on coronavirus-related issues, said that the US and British governments have so far supported research done by the pharmaceutical industry for rapid detection tests and thus secured the rights to them faster.
Following this development, Mosialos pointed out, countries such as Spain and Italy, where tests for coronavirus are urgently needed, will be left behind.
Mosialos underlined that if patents for tests and vaccines were purchased, it would be possible to organise production in many places (in Europe), which would allow a wide distribution. The tests and vaccines, which would be acquired by state or European institutions, would thus be turned into “public goods” that could be further distributed, the LSE professor concluded.
Mitsotakis said that he supported the proposal, noting that at least 20 coronavirus vaccines are currently being developed, many of which are subsidised by individual governments or charities.
“Ideally, as soon as their effectiveness is proven, these vaccines should be made available as soon as possible, more fairly and at a reasonable cost,” the prime minister said, noting that it was difficult but urgent to solve the problem of vaccination against the virus as soon as possible.
“Against this challenge, European governments could reward vaccine manufacturers by buying their patents at reasonable prices,” he said.
“If this policy is implemented correctly, on the one hand it allows the provision of incentives for the research and development of vaccines against coronavirus and on the other hand it assures citizens that the money they give as taxpayers is properly spent,” Mitsotakis added.