On March 10, 2021, our journal partnered with the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy to host a symposium addressing the role and impact of U.S. innovation policy on access to medicine. Our 2021 Symposium Issue—Volume 11, Issue 1—captures that event.

Access to medicine is by no means a new issue, but the COVID-19 pandemic demanded full attention to it. The United States responded with Operation Warp Speed and billions of dollars in government spending. Multiple vaccines emerged. As of October 2021, the vast majority of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.1 Still, we must ask: Is this the new norm? Will the federal government continue to play a more active role in access to medicine going forward? Our 2021 symposium addressed these questions through four panels, which we have transcribed into four articles.

Our first panel considered what role governments should play in setting rewards for medical innovation. The panel was moderated by Professor Lisa Ouellette of Stanford Law School. The panelists included Professor Michael Abramowicz of George Washington University Law School, Professor Daniel Hemel of the University of Chicago Law School, and Professor Bhaven Sampat of the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.

Our second panel asked, “Should the U.S. government actively assert its own patents?” The panel was moderated by Christopher Morten, Deputy Director of NYU Law’s Technology Law & Policy Clinic. The panelists included Barry Datlof, Chief of Business Development and Commercialization in the Office of Medical Technology Transfer at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, Professor Amy Kapczynski of Yale Law School, Donna Meuth, Associate General Counsel and Lead Attorney of the U.S. Intellectual Property Department of Eisai, and Zain Rizvi, a policy researcher at Public Citizen who focuses on pharmaceutical innovation and access to medicines.

Our third panel discussed whether and how the U.S. government should exercise its compulsory licensing authority under 28 U.S.C. § 1498 and the Bayh-Dole Act. The panel was moderated by Professor Arti Rai of Duke University School of Law. The panelists included Professor Rebecca S. Eisenberg of the University of Michigan Law School, Tahir Amin, Co-Founder and Co-Executive of I-MAK, Henry Hadad, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Professor Rachel Sachs of Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.

Our final panel assessed strategies to delay generic drug entry. The panel was moderated by Professor Scott Hemphill of NYU School of Law. The panelists included Professor Robin Feldman of UC Hastings Law School, Jay Lefkowitz of Kirkland & Ellis, Professor Sean Nicholson of Cornell University, and Judge William G. Young of the District of Massachusetts.

Although our panelists did not always agree, they shared a common belief that access to medicine must be a national priority. How best to achieve that goal is the focus of this issue.

You may view and download a PDF of the complete issue here.

Thank you for reading.


Taylor Peterson
NYU Journal of Intellectual Property & Entertainment Law


  1. See Household Pulse Survey COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker, U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (last updated Oct. 20, 2021), https://www.census.gov/library/ visualizations/interactive/household-pulse-survey-covid-19-vaccination-tracker.html.