The German government has rejected the U.S. proposal to waive patent rights on COVID-19 vaccines, Minister of Health Jens Spahn told journalists here on Friday.
Spahn said that as an innovation hub Germany had an interest in protecting intellectual property rights.
The United States has proposed that pharmaceutical companies' patents on their COVID-19 vaccines should be temporarily waived. Manufacturers around the world could then produce the vaccines without paying any licensing fees to the companies that developed the vaccine.
"The main issue is not the question of patents. The main issue is production capacities," Spahn said. "The production of mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccines in particular is not something that can be somehow done under license somewhere, in some factory. It is about technology transfer, which is usually better in cooperation."
With COVID-19 raging in India, Spahn said that Germany was "generally committed" to supporting the country. Germany would help any cooperation partner in India in setting up production capacities for COVID-19 vaccines.
Spahn emphasized that the European Union would "produce for the world, knowing that we are not all safe until everyone in the world is safe."
Recalling German biotechnological company BioNTech's plans to produce between two and three billion doses annually of its COVID-19 vaccine, Spahn said that Germany would "significantly ramp up vaccine exports."