World Health Organization: Facilitating COVID-19 Vaccines for the World
(8 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
On May 29, 2020, the World Health Organization launched the COVID-19 Technologies Access Pool (C-TAP) with the aim of making pandemic-related technologies—specifically, vaccines and treatments—available to its participants. Although the initiative was positively received in many developing countries, it was not well received by pharmaceutical companies, who viewed C-TAP as a threat to the patent system and, therefore, as a threat to the companies’ future research and development. Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) supported the initiative because it was expected to help poorer countries and income groups access a vaccine. Companies, NGOs, and national governments had to decide how to engage in the process.
The case may be used in undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on international business to discuss the role of the formal institutional environment (i.e., the legal and regulatory environment) and corporate political activity in each of the countries in which a multinational firm operates. The case can also be used in courses on managerial economics to discuss incentives for research and development arising from the regulatory environment; whereas in a sustainability or corporate-social-responsibility class, the case may be used to discuss corporate social and political activity aimed at influencing the regulatory environment. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will have the opportunity to do the following:
- Explain the merits of intellectual property (IP) rights from a corporate perspective.
- Engage in the policy discourse on IP rights.
- Analyze the social implications of far-reaching IP rights in the health care sector.
- Formulate a communication strategy to engage in a contentious political issue.
Health Care Services
Germany; Switzerland; United States; China, 2020
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