Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Home Life Style Health & Fitness Wealthy Countries Stand in The Way of Low/Middle Income Nations To Get...

Wealthy Countries Stand in The Way of Low/Middle Income Nations To Get COVID Vaccines

The pharmaceutical industry says patents are not the biggest barriers, however

The United States and other wealthy countries are standing in the way of low- and middle-income countries seeking better access to COVID-19 vaccines, health-equity advocates say.

South Africa and India have led an effort at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive drug companies’ exclusive rights to manufacture their vaccines during the coronavirus pandemic.

Countries with major pharmaceutical industries, including the United States, several European countries, and Japan, have opposed the waiver. WTO, the global trade regulating body, operates by consensus, so the proposal fails without unanimous support.

“It is shameful that U.S. policy is prioritizing profits over life, and doing so in the name of the American people,” Emily Sanderson, senior grassroots advocacy coordinator for the activist group Health GAP, said in a statement.

The pharmaceutical industry says patents are not the biggest barriers, however. Supplies and expertise are the major limitations, executives say. But the industry says novel partnerships already in place will meet the demand for vaccines.

Please Follow NewsGram on Facebook To Get Latest Updates!

Vaccine rollout has been highly unequal so far. While deliveries are accelerating in many higher-income countries, “there are over 100 countries where not a single (dose of) vaccine has been delivered,” said Matthew Kavanagh, director of the Georgetown University Global Health Policy & Politics Initiative.

U.S. President Joe Biden announced plans Thursday to vaccinate enough Americans by July 4 to get life nearly back to normal.

Meanwhile, COVAX, a World Health Organization-backed program to improve vaccine equity, plans to vaccinate just 3% of participating countries’ populations by then.

COVID Vaccine
The United States and other wealthy countries are standing in the way of low- and middle-income countries seeking better access to COVID-19 vaccines, health-equity advocates say. Pixabay

Manufacturers in waiting

Advocates say more people would get vaccinated if drug companies would relinquish control of their products.

“We know that in India, in South Africa, in Senegal, in Thailand, there are producers that within six months could start making vaccines if the information about how to do so was shared with them,” Kavanagh said.

Plus, he added, the vaccines were developed in a large part with public funding from taxpayers in the United States and Europe, which should limit drug companies’ rights to them.

The conflict has echoes of the fight over HIV/AIDS drugs two decades ago. Over the vigorous opposition of drug companies and their host governments, several developing countries broke patents to produce lifesaving antiretroviral medications at much lower cost than the companies were charging.

It ultimately opened the door for developing-world manufacturers to produce low-cost generic drugs that have helped control HIV/AIDS.

Many say those lessons should be applied to COVID-19.

“If a temporary waiver to patents cannot be issued now, during these unprecedented times, when will be the right time?” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on Twitter earlier this month.

COVID Vaccine
Meanwhile, COVAX, a World Health Organization-backed program to improve vaccine equity, plans to vaccinate just 3% of participating countries’ populations by then. Pixabay

Supply bottlenecks

But the pharmaceutical industry says revoking intellectual property will not get more shots in arms.

“The bottlenecks are the capacity, the scarcity of raw materials, scarcity of ingredients, and it is about the know-how,” Thomas Cueni, head of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), told Reuters.

“A better approach is to continue the intense collaboration already taking place between companies, governments and other partners around the world,” Megan Van Etten, senior public affairs director at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), an industry trade group, said in a statement.

Rival companies have teamed up to increase supplies of COVID-19 vaccines.

Earlier this month, Merck announced it would help to manufacture Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine in a deal brokered by the Biden administration. Sanofi is producing shots for Pfizer-BioNTech after its own vaccine suffered a setback. And AstraZeneca partnered with the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, to boost supplies of its vaccine.

ALSO READ: Elderly People Diagnosed With COVID Earlier Are More Prone To Reinfection: Study

All told, the industry plans to manufacture 10 billion doses of vaccine this year, which would, in theory, be about enough to immunize the world’s entire adult population. Pharmaceutical companies say intellectual property protections were how the industry was able to produce safe and effective vaccines against a novel virus in less than a year.

“Undermining the very policies that have helped research companies move so quickly against the pandemic won’t provide relief for people and will leave us all less prepared to confront future public health threats,” PhRMA’s Van Etten said. (VOA/KR)

STAY CONNECTED

19,517FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,773FollowersFollow

Most Popular

Nanking Massacre: The Holocaust

By- Khushi Bisht The Nanking Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, was one of the worst massacres committed during the Sino-Japanese war that...

‘Child Of Two Worlds’ Featuring The Protagonists And Immortal Lovers

Turkey-based author Ann D'Silva has launched her new book "Child of Two Worlds", which is second in the fictional 'Sand and Sea' series, which...

Now Transfer Posts And Notes To Google Docs And WordPress Directly

Facebook on Monday introducing two new data portability types that will help users directly transfer their posts and notes to Google Documents, Blogger, and...

Lyricist Mehboob: The Line Between Film Music And Indie Music Has Blurred Lately

The line between film music and indie music has blurred lately, feels noted lyricist Mehboob, who has over 25 years of experience in the...

OTT Projects Based On Books

With OTT platforms experimenting with genres and content, there are a host of projects that are based on books. Lately, we have already had...

Something Screened On Your Phone Can Not Erase A Huge Screen, Says Boman Irani

Good writing is the need of the hour, feels actor Boman Irani, to sustain audience interest at a time when OTT provides a surfeit...

The Truth Behind Why Airliners Don’t Fly Over Tibet

BY- JAYA CHOUDHARY Airplanes can fly for thousands of kilometers across the globe. Rockets have landed men on the moon and Elon Musk plans to...

Symptoms Affecting Daily Life Post Covid Recovery

Are you a Covid-19 survivor, but still feel fatigued and not having fully recovered? You may be experiencing what is known as "Long Covid"....

Recent Comments