“British lawmakers have called on Boris Johnson’s government to publish all communications with pharmaceutical companies to see whether private lobbying influenced its opposition to a waiver of intellectual property rules for COVID-19 vaccines.” [Source: reuters.com]
The huge profits of the pharma industry are achieved by taking advantage of intellectual property rules through the patenting of new drugs and vaccines. Based on its ownership of such patents, the pharma industry’s annual sales are forecast to reach a staggering $1.5 trillion this year. Pharma executives see defending drug and vaccine patents as central to the survival of their business model.
Predictably, therefore, richer members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have blocked a push by over 80 developing countries to waive patent rights in an effort to boost production of COVID-19 vaccines for poorer nations. Countries opposing the waiving of these patent rights include the UK, Switzerland, the United States, as well as the European Union, all of whom are leading pharmaceutical exporters. Analysts expect that once the urgent phase of the coronavirus pandemic is over, vaccine producers in these countries will seek to capitalize on their patent ownerships by increasing the prices of the jabs. At that point, all pretense regarding the claimed non-profit approach to manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines will vanish.
To learn the facts about the pharmaceutical ‘business with disease’ and its use of patents, see the ‘Laws of the Pharmaceutical Industry’ feature on our website.