In the AIDS crisis, pharma companies made vast profits as millions were left behind. History is repeating itself today.
As a proud member of the People’s Vaccine Alliance, EMERGENCY is delighted that the Biden Administration has heeded the Alliance’s call. This is the decision the world needed: by backing a waiver of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines the Biden Administration can increase the global supply of vaccines and deal a deathblow to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In doing so, the Administration has shown it can listen to the voices of over 100 countries, the World Health Organization, former leaders, public health experts, Nobel Laureates and activists around the world – and countered the shameful behaviour of big pharmaceutical monopolies which are placing profits over the right to health of billions of people.
While a bold step towards a people’s vaccine, this is a first step. The Administration must combine its support of a waiver of intellectual property rules with urgently insisting on the transfer of technologies through the World Health Organization Covid-19 Technology Access pool, and invest strategically in manufacturing across the developing world. They must ensure the waiver applies not just to vaccines, but to all Covid-19 related technologies.
And the U.S. Administration of President Biden must resist the intense pressure it will now face by the pharmaceutical industry to water down agreements at the World Trade Organization – and he must ensure that negotiating texts are made transparent and public.
By backing the waiver President Biden has shown he can take courageous action for the world – now he must pull out all the stops to deliver a People’s Vaccine.
And other leaders of rich nations who have been blocking a TRIPS waiver – including President Ursula von der Leyen, Chancellor Merkel, President Macron and Prime Minister Johnson – must follow the U.S., and together urgently deliver safe and effective vaccines to the world.