“The EU is still blocking everything”, “greed kills”: political figures on the left have denounced the massive rejection by MEPs of two amendments in favor of the lifting of patents on vaccines against Covid-19.
At the heart of the public debate on vaccination against Covid-19, patent law – which allows pharmaceutical companies to protect their discoveries to hold exclusivity for twenty years – is more controversial than ever.
In March, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared itself in favor of “lifting the barriers protecting anti-Covid vaccine patents”, thus supporting a request formulated jointly by India and the ‘South Africa in October 2020. A proposal taken up by left-wing European parliamentarians on April 28, who pushed for two amendments to this effect to the “Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to a framework for the issuance, the verification and acceptance of interoperable vaccination certificates [contre le Covid-19]», But faced a refusal from their peers during the vote.
“Covid-19 vaccines should be considered global public goods guaranteed to all. The Commission and Member States must overcome obstacles and restrictions linked to patents and intellectual property rights, in order to ensure that vaccines are produced in large quantities and distributed in a timely manner to all countries and to all citizens, on the basis of fair and affordable access for all ”, we could read in the first of the two amendments, of which rebellious MEP Manon Aubry shared a version in French on social networks.
“The Union should support the initiative presented by India and South Africa to the WTO, which provides for a temporary exemption on intellectual property rights for vaccines and treatments against Covid-19, and pharmaceutical companies should share their knowledge and data, ”he wrote in the second.
The EU is still blocking everything. Shame on those who prefer to defend the profits of the big pharmas rather than the health of the people!
“Today we had the opportunity to send an important message from the European Parliament by supporting the lifting of patents for Covid-19 vaccines. Unfortunately, the votes against [d’autres groupes de l’europarlement] prevented it, ”reacted on social networks the left-wing Spanish MEP Sira Rego. And the parliamentarian to support her point by posting a photo presenting the results of the vote on these amendments, both rejected by nearly two-thirds of the voters.
“Our amendments from the European left asking for the lifting of patents on vaccines have just been rejected. The WHO, more than 100 states, Nobel Prize winners are asking for it … But the EU is still blocking everything. Shame on those who prefer to defend the profits of big pharmas rather than people’s health! ”, For her part tweeted Manon Aubry, co-president of the confederal group GUE / NGL.
Our amendments @Left_EU requesting the lifting of patents on vaccines have just been rejected.
The WHO, more than 100 states, Nobel Prize winners are asking for it … but the EU is still blocking everything.
Shame on those who prefer to defend the profits of the big pharmas rather than the health of the people! pic.twitter.com/SVu2RPV0mT
– Manon Aubry (@ManonAubryFr) April 28, 2021
“The greed of firms kills, and politicians, in Brussels as in Paris, are its accomplices”, commented again on this subject his comrade of the National Assembly, the deputy François Ruffin, embellishing his publication of an infographic presenting the distribution of votes on this subject by French MEPs.
The debate over patents in the pharmaceutical industry is not new. The question generally opposes those who denounce a logic of profits hardly compatible with the urgent needs for know-how throughout the world to those who defend intellectual property in the matter. This position was notably defended by Frédéric Collet, French president of the Pharmaceutical Companies (LEEM), in a column published by the newspaper The world on March 27. Its author insisted in particular on the complexity of the development of vaccines in the face of the health crisis.