Suspend Covid-19 patents during the pandemic

We are facing a devastating vaccine apartheid where rich countries are hoarding doses, leaving countries in the global south with little or none. And now even rich countries are fighting between themselves over doses.

We are in this situation because big pharma holds patents and know-how. This means no other companies can make their vaccine. Instead of restricting supplies, we should be ramping up production by mobilising as manufacturers as possible to ensure there are enough doses for everyone.

The governments of India and South Africa along with 100 countries are calling on the World Trade Organisation to suspend patent rules during the pandemic to produce mass quantities of vaccines and treatments to tackle this virus. The UK government and other rich countries are opposing this proposal. The UK can defend big pharma profits or it can save lives. It can’t have both.

Call on the UK to back this proposal to suspend patents during the pandemic

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Global trade rules impose powerful monopoly rights for big pharma. This artificially restricts supply and sustains high medicine prices allowing big pharma to profit and sell to the highest bidder. Countries with the most money will get Covid-19 vaccines and treatments first, leaving countries in the global south without. This is bad enough during normal times but during a global pandemic, this is simply unacceptable.