We have the power to end this pandemic. We have the technology, materials and productive capacity to vaccinate the world against Covid-19 this year. We can save millions of lives, protect billions of livelihoods and reclaim trillions of dollars worth of economic activity along the way.
But instead, our countries are now moving into the pandemic’s deadliest phase. Mutant strains are spreading into regions where the vaccines are not only scarce; they have barely arrived. At present rates of vaccination, the pandemic will continue to rage until at least 2024.
This is not a coincidence. The system of pharmaceutical patents at the World Trade Organization was designed to prioritize corporate profit over human life. Even in the midst of a deadly pandemic, a coalition of pharmaceutical companies and global north governments refuses to re-order these priorities – blocking patent waivers, refusing to share vaccine technologies and underfunding multilateral responses.
It might be true, that’s possible. But everyone else not in alliance with that ghastly oil, Nick Dearden, seems to be saying that it’s not patents which are the problem. It’s the ability to spin up factories to make the stuff. Which isn’t a problem that is solved by voiding the patents.
No matter how many times people claim it is.