Monday, November 22, 2021

A Pandemic. Blame the Profit System

  There is a report called 'Losing Time' from the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response that looked at how the world is dealing with the pandemic and how prepared it is for another one.

One of the most striking concerns raised in the report is about the control of vaccine and medicine patents by the pharmaceutical industry.

It states "Global health cannot be left hostage to a pharmaceutical industry which buys up patents for promising products (often originally developed with significant public monies in universities and research institutions) and develops them in the interest of making profits."

The report adds "the promise of this collaboration has not yet delivered adequate access to Covid-19-related products or technologies everywhere they are needed".

It explains that despite an "overwhelming majority of countries supporting a waiver of intellectual property rights" to help vaccine distribution, a global agreement on this has still not been reached. Technology transfer is desperately needed to decentralize production and repair broken supply chains"

It challenges the pharmaceutical industry claims of the complexity of achieving this.

"...this technology can be transferred in six to nine months..."

The report suggests progress has been hampered by a lack of unity. "The capacity of low- and middle-income countries to purchase vaccines is squeezed by confidential high-cost deals between manufacturers and wealthy countries as they add booster doses to their immunization programmes, despite powerful arguments against this on equity grounds"

Large parts of the world have little or no access to vaccines, while wealthy countries are issuing boosters. 

The authors of the report,  former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark and former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, seek as a remedy a new serious of international laws to provide WHO with increased powers.

As been highlighted repeatedly by this blog and others within the World Socialist Movement, it cannot be expected for the beast to change its spots. Capitalism through its industrialised food production may well have possibly caused the pandemic in the Wuhan food market, but capitalism most certainly exacerbated the Covid-19 crisis through its fundamental law of the profit motive. 

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