Achal Prabhala is the coordinator of the AccessIBSA project, which campaigns for access to medicines in India, Brazil and South Africa. Chelsea Clinton is an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the vice chair of the Clinton Foundation in New York City.
As the trade representative for his country, Nkomo and his boss – the head of the mission, Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter – were pushing the WTO to endorse a global waiver of pharmaceutical monopolies so that poor countries around the world could produce the vaccines they need. (Less than 3% of the African continent has been vaccinated to date, because rich countries have bought up and hoarded nearly the entire global supply).
Anyone who has the ability to make vaccines can get permission to make vaccines right now. The shortage is not of permissions to be able to make vaccines, it is of the ability – and equipment, staff, bioreactors and all that – to be able to make vaccines. Patent waivers would add nothing to the global capacity to make vaccines.
But, you know, let’s strike at the capitalist pharma industry using an excuse!