The archbishop was speaking in Geneva to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a UN agency with 193 member states that provides a global forum for patents, industrial designs, copyright, and trademark information and services.
He said that the Holy See supported the work of the organization's standing committee on patent law, adding: "A unique and historic crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, underlines the importance of the issue of incentives for innovation, in this case the urgent need to develop new medical products, while ensuring supply and access, including to existing health technologies."
Expressing concern that some countries might "hoard" the new vaccines, Jurkovič underlined that intellectual property should always be subordinated to the common good.
"As shown by the current pandemic and by the growing and unfortunate tendency, on the part of some states, to hoard the newly developed vaccines, the access to affordable medicines and vaccines no longer represents a challenge only for the least developed and other developing countries; it has also become an increasingly urgent issue for developed countries," he said.
"The Holy See would like to recall once again that patent rights should be exercised coherently with the objectives of mutual advantage of patent holders and users of patented medicines, in a manner conducive to social and economic welfare, to a balance of rights and obligations, and at the service of promoting integral human development."
There are more than 57 vaccines for COVID-19 in the world currently undergoing clinical trials on humans, according to the New York Times.