[Video] Health for All! Demand a waiver on patents!

29 October 2021 by Eric Toussaint , Frank Prouhet , Aude Martenot , Eliane Mandine

Since the pandemic began, more than 240 million cases and nearly 5 million deaths from Covid have been officially reported. Aside from the different measures taken to slow the spread of the pandemic, the majority of countries have launched vaccination campaigns for their populations. Covid shows once more how unequal we are in the face of illness, depending on social class, gender, and whether we live in a country of the North or the South. While more than 60% of people in North America and Western Europe have been vaccinated, only 2.1% of people in the 27 low income countries have received one dose of the vaccine against Covid.

Mechanisms such as COVAX were set up with the declared objective of ensuring equitable access to vaccination for all countries but they have proven ineffective. Above all, they reveal the hypocrisy of powerful actors and international institutions, which in spite of their fine speeches, have failed to meet their commitments. Angela Merkel in Germany, Emmanuel Macron in France, Ursula von der Leyen for the European Commission, and Joe Biden in the USA, all committed to vaccines against Covid as a public good and therefore, to a waiver on patents, at least temporarily.

To date, we see the exact opposite. Research and production of vaccines have been funded almost entirely by the public. In collaboration with international institutions, western governments have overwhelmingly financed big pharmaceutical companies and given them carte blanche to make juicy profits, sometimes through mechanisms of tax evasion. This has been to the detriment of people’s health, of public goods, and has resulted in an enormous increase in the public debt, which, as the people know only too well, will be accompanied by the harmful effects of austerity.

On 13 and 14 October last, the TRIPS Council, watchdog of intellectual property, met at the WTO WTO
World Trade Organisation
The WTO, founded on 1st January 1995, replaced the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). The main innovation is that the WTO enjoys the status of an international organization. Its role is to ensure that no member States adopt any kind of protectionism whatsoever, in order to accelerate the liberalization global trading and to facilitate the strategies of the multinationals. It has an international court (the Dispute Settlement Body) which judges any alleged violations of its founding text drawn up in Marrakesh.

in Geneva to discuss a temporary waiver on patents, without success to no one’s surprise. At the end of this month, the question will be raised again at the G20 G20 The Group of Twenty (G20 or G-20) is a group made up of nineteen countries and the European Union whose ministers, central-bank directors and heads of state meet regularly. It was created in 1999 after the series of financial crises in the 1990s. Its aim is to encourage international consultation on the principle of broadening dialogue in keeping with the growing economic importance of a certain number of countries. Its members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, USA, UK and the European Union (represented by the presidents of the Council and of the European Central Bank). in Rome. At the end of November, it will be on the agenda again at a new meeting of the WTO, in the presence of ministers.

Let’s take the opportunity offered by these various summits, to further mobilize and force a change in the governments and powerful actors in favour of a waiver on patents.

To discuss:

* Chee Yoke Ling was unable to attend the conference.

Eric Toussaint

is a historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège, is the spokesperson of the CADTM International, and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France.
He is the author of Greece 2015: there was an alternative. London: Resistance Books / IIRE / CADTM, 2020 , Debt System (Haymarket books, Chicago, 2019), Bankocracy (2015); The Life and Crimes of an Exemplary Man (2014); Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology From its Origins to the Present, Haymarket books, Chicago, 2012, etc.
See his bibliography: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89ric_Toussaint
He co-authored World debt figures 2015 with Pierre Gottiniaux, Daniel Munevar and Antonio Sanabria (2015); and with Damien Millet Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, Monthly Review Books, New York, 2010. He was the scientific coordinator of the Greek Truth Commission on Public Debt from April 2015 to November 2015.

Other articles in English by Eric Toussaint (621)

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Frank Prouhet

Collectif Brevets sur les vaccins anti-covid, stop ! Réquisition

Aude Martenot

, is a member of the CSSR (Centrale Sanitaire Suisse Romande)

Eliane Mandine

Collectif Brevets sur les vaccins anti-covid, stop ! Réquisition


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