The Biden administration’s call to lift patent protections on COVID-19 vaccines to help poor parts of the world get more doses has drawn praise from some countries and health advocates. But it has run into resistance from the pharmaceutical industry and others, who say that it won’t help curb the outbreak any time soon and will hurt innovation. Why is patent production so important to drugmakers? Because medicines are incredibly expensive to develop. And patents help ensure that drugmakers can sell their product for years without competition from their rivals.
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