This is from the Grumpy Economist:
Vaccines and liability
Posted: 26 Apr 2021 03:52 PM PDT
I learned something from the New York Times lead editorial on Sunday. Why are we not shipping mega quantities of vaccines to countries like India?
Well, you can sort of see the problem. You're a drug company. You sell a billion units of a brand new drug -- still on emergency use authorization in the US -- to, say, India. 10 people get a rare blood clot that may or may not be due to your vaccine. Local courts sue you for a gazillion dollars. Who wouldn't want liability protection?
As the Europeans allowed trillions of GDP and quite a few lives to vanish while they haggled over a few billion in cost of vaccines, perhaps the onus on countries should be, to say, we want your vaccine, we understand it's brand new and there may be risks, we'll take them?
The NYT is, predictably, full of bad ideas.
"Suspend patents." Great. Just in time to discourage drug companies from working full steam to identify the new variants stewing around the world and get moving on updated vaccines. Once again, all you need to know about cost benefit analysis is that trillions > billions. The profits' of drug companies are drops in the bucket. Related to a twitter stream going on, it's always time for that "once and never more" property expropriation isn't it?
But most of all, "absurd indemnity clauses that protect company profits over human lives?" If you mean it, dear Times, here's a suggestion: You offer to pay for any legal damages that foreign courts assess to US drugmakers over vaccines gone wrong. Not that hot to put "people" over your own "profits," eh?
I'll given them the first, but not the "wise." DPA was silly in the first place. We're not building aircraft carriers for WWII, and it is beyond hypocritical to complain about Chinese and others banning exports to us while we do that. Instead our newly internationalist administration should work to stop all export bans worldwide in such situations. The world needs to work together, and that means to use our global supply chains when we need speed and efficiency.