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What They Are Saying: Intellectual Property Protections Critical to Defeat COVID-19 in Southeast Asia

As the global biopharmaceutical industry continues to research and develop COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, innovators are looking to intellectual property (IP) rights to protect their breakthrough discoveries and enable further investment and collaboration. Decades of research and development experience with viruses similar to COVID-19 shows how IP can drive innovation in Southeast Asia. In fact, biopharmaceutical innovators had a head start on potential solutions when the COVID-19 pandemic hit due to the deep scientific knowledge previously cultivated by IP protections.

Industry experts continue to highlight the important role IP plays in promoting innovation and incentivizing ongoing collaborations. Here are some of their thoughts:

  • “IP protections enable the private sector to take risks and invest heavily in developing innovative new drugs and treatments. These include the novel coronavirus and other new infectious diseases we have yet to face.” – Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia (PhAMA) on Twitter
  •  “Innovation holds the promise for potential medicines, vaccines and diagnostics targeting complex diseases, including COVID-19. Collaboration means sharing expertise and working together to beat the disease.” – Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) on Twitter
  • “Around the world, hundreds of companies are inventing new ways to beat the virus or to hold it at bay. From vaccines, to temperature surveillance systems or protective gear, the world is racing against this deathly speck. But for innovation to be as productive as possible, intellectual property is key. The best way to harness creativity and enable innovative enterprises to grow is through a reliable IP framework.” – Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) in Reuters
  • “Innovation will be of critical importance in both finding the medical solutions to prevent and treat COVID-19 and to jumpstart economic growth in the aftermath of the pandemic.” – Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, Chief of Economics and Data Analytics at the World Intellectual Property Organization, in SciDevNet

Reliable IP protections are vital to Southeast Asia’s growing innovation ecosystem and ultimately defeating COVID-19. Government officials throughout the region should be mindful of these perspectives and protect the IP of new discoveries to encourage ongoing collaboration and investment in new therapies, like those in development to treat COVID-19.

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