“Reactive line: Sanofi announces US will get any new COVID-19 vaccine first
Yesterday Bloomberg and others reported that the CEO of the French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi had said that that the United States will be first in line for any new COVID-19 vaccine because it was first to invest in its development. This is an urgent reminder of the need for collective action by all governments to work together to ensure access for all – and avoid a bidding war for vaccines, tests and treatments that will only benefit big pharmaceutical companies and those countries that have the raw power and money to gain access.
In his remarks the Sanofi CEO seemed to hint at the need for the European Union to engage in a bidding war with the United States and China to gain access to new vaccines, giving the company and other drug companies the leverage to rake in millions of dollars – both from the investment of taxpayer money in the development of tests, treatments, and vaccine and from the sale of those tests, treatments and vaccine to a desperate public and governments.
Even as the race between the US and EU intensifies for a new vaccine, billions of people around the world are being left out in the cold, including vulnerable people and those on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19.
Here is what Oxfam-Québec, policy director Anne Duhamel had to say :
“The news that Sanofi could give the US priority access to any new coronavirus vaccine is an urgent reminder of the need for governments to work together to fight the disease. In lieu of global cooperation and solidarity, pharmaceutical companies are being empowered to act as kingmakers – deciding who lives and who dies – and using this new-found power to extract subsidies and potentially high prices for new COVID-19 tests, treatments, vaccines. Governments must work together to stop corporations profiteering from the pandemic and save the lives of people across the globe. When they meet at the World Health Assembly next week, they must demand that vaccines, tests, and treatments will be patent-free, ethically produced, equitably distributed to all nations and people, and free at the point of delivery.” ”