In comments to Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has backed a proposal by health policy professor and government adviser Ilias Mosialos for European Union countries to jointly purchase patent rights for new vaccines and rapid tests for the detection of coronavirus in a bid to respond more effectively to curbing the pandemic.
Mosialos, who was recently appointed as the government's representative to international organizations in issues relating to Covid-19, has stressed that, to date, the US and British governments have backed the research of pharmaceutical companies for rapid tests, thus securing the rights to quickly acquiring them. This means that countries like Italy and Spain, which have a greater need for tests, are left behind, he said.
If the EU were to buy the patent rights for tests and vaccines, it would be possible to organize production in many locations across Europe which would facilitate broader distribution, according to Mossialos.
In his interview, Mitsotakis said that he supports this proposal, noting that at least 20 vaccines against Covid-19 are being developed at this time, many of which are being subsidized by individual governments or charities.
"Ideally, as soon as their effectiveness has been proven, these vaccines should be made available as quickly as possible, in a fair way and at a reasonable price," Mitsotakis said.
"Faced with this challenge, European governments could recompense vaccine manufacturers, buying their patents at reasonable prices," he said, adding that the correct implementation of such a policy would give incentives for research and development of a vaccine while also reassuring taxpayers that their money is being invested properly."