In India, parking lot cremations are the ultimate treatment for the ravaging Covid pandemic. In a country with 20% of the globe’s population, only 1.6% of its people have been fully vaccinated.
In Guatemala, 1% of the residents have been vaccinated. In Namibia, only 128 people were fully vaccinated as of mid-April.
Billions are suffering. And Big Pharma is adding to the misery and making out like bandits.
Yet the capitalist news media is pitching the pharmaceutical giants as superheroes. A recent article in Forbes put the big lie this way. “As the pandemic began to rage a year ago, the biopharma industry responded in unprecedented fashion. Life sciences companies raced to find a solution to the nightmare virus, and promising vaccine efforts soon emerged.”
Oh really? Are we supposed to say “thank you” to Big Pharma for saving us? Are we to believe that they alone crafted the key to defeating Covid-19? Are they entitled to the billions they’re making in profits?
The answer is “no,” “no,” and “hell, no!”
A normal human being, on learning of the virus, asks: “What do we need to do to protect ourselves from this terrible danger?” Not Pfizer and Moderna. For them, the question is: “How much money can we make?” As evidence, I point to exhibit No. 1: Big Pharma has the vaccines — and their formulas — but won’t release them to countries too poor to pay megabucks.
Their reprehensible behavior has been backed by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the imperialist dominated agency which regulates international trade. A WTO member nation has to abide by national and international patent laws. That means that more affordable generic drugs cannot be sold from one country to another. Poor countries have to get the vaccine from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or their competitors. Many don’t have the resources to manufacture their own generics, but even those that do are locked out.
In March, the Biden administration helped block a proposal from 80 suffering nations to suspend patent rights for the vaccines. The U.S. was joined by its imperialist allies in the U.K. and the European Union. In May, due to massive public pressure, Biden relented and withdrew opposition.
Cheaper generics would slash Big Pharma’s profits. According to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, tampering with profits is “fanatical and radical.” After all, manufacturing billionaires is what they’re really all about.
The pharmaceutical industry would like us to believe that we owe them for our very lives. But we don’t need them at all, and the truth is just the opposite. They need us!
To produce their new billionaires, they need the money working people paid in taxes over decades to fund public, non-patented research, which alone has enabled manufacture of the vaccines. They need us for the money we shelled out in the form of government subsidies so that Big Pharma could turn public scientific knowledge into a saleable vaccine. They need us to fund the contracts to advance-purchase their vaccines so their super-profits are guaranteed.
Talented scientists served the public interest by developing nanotechnology and a new messenger-RNA strategy to fight off deadly viruses. The pharmaceuticals took this knowledge, made a vaccine, and then patented the process. In other words, they privatized public knowledge. This is how the crazy capitalist system works.
To turn public scientific knowledge into a patented vaccine, Moderna received $3 billion from the U.S. and Pfizer-BioNTech received $1.9 billion from the U.S. and Germany. These companies also received promises from countries around the world to purchase a billion vaccine doses. Seeing dollar signs light up, they could easily afford to contribute $1.8 billion of their own pocket change to the pot. That’s the figure they’ll point to when they claim they’re the ones who developed the vaccines.
The hard-working and suffering people of the world are the rightful owners of the Covid vaccines. Down with patents! Vaccinate the world now! Pay for it with the billions stolen by Big Pharma!
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