In a forum co-signed by many personalities of the international left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Lula call for the lifting of patents on vaccines against Covid, to build “a society of mutual aid” on an international scale.
What if the Covid-19 vaccine was considered a common good and no longer a commodity? This is the proposal of a forum published in Release on February 20 and signed by many left-wing personalities from around the world such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the vice-president of the advisory committee at the United Nations Human Rights Council Jean Ziegler, or the former presidents of Brazil and from Ecuador, Lula and Rafael Correa.
In this column entitled “Lift the patents on vaccines against Covid”, the signatories deplore that vaccines, “so vital for humanity, [soient] treated as goods ”. “Private companies decide who they deliver to and at what price. This privatization of the vaccine, however a ‘common good’ according to the WHO, slows down its distribution. A minority of rich countries have appropriated most of the available doses. In the rest of the world, some states have to pay 2.5 times more for the same vaccines, ”they write.
And the signatories denounce the gains made by pharmaceutical companies during the pandemic: “These are a few multinationals from Big Pharma who are winning the game. The American laboratory Pfizer has forecast that the sale of its vaccine will bring it back 15 billion dollars in 2021. Vaccines, so vital to humanity, are treated like commodities. “
“This is why we are proposing to lift the patents on vaccines and future treatments against Covid. Money should not be a brake on global health, ”they plead, before adding:“ In many countries, there are free licensing, ex officio licenses or compulsory licenses. They allow the manufacture and free distribution of vaccines. We call on the leaders of these countries to use them as quickly as possible. ”
“Countries must be able to produce [les vaccins] themselves “
Contacted by RT France, Arnaud Le Gall, member of the World in Common (rebellious international review), explains that this forum is at the initiative of the rebellious leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
“[Emmanuel] Macron has done a lot on international solidarity, multilateralism, while Donald Trump did not care about the pandemic issue. In practice, we can see that the initiative it supports within the G7 are in the field of charity. It’s about giving the surplus [de vaccins] to poor countries. This is not the way to proceed. If we want the vast majority of humanity to have access to the means to fight the pandemic, including vaccines, intellectual property rights must be lifted, ”said the rebel, a specialist in international issues.
“The countries must be able to produce these means themselves and it is moreover a request of the WTO, India and South Africa which requested a temporary exemption. France does not support this initiative. Jean-Luc Mélenchon has succeeded in receiving support from all over the world, which clearly shows that it is a question of general interest, ”he concludes.
An idea that is not shared by the government, as explained by Minister Delegate for Industry Agnès Pannier-Runacher on February 7 on France Info. Removing patents on vaccines is “a false good idea”, explained the minister before insisting on what she considers to be the real blocking subject: finding production sites capable of manufacturing vaccines.
“You cannot convert just any site into a vaccine production site: you need 4, 5, 6 months to do it”, she said in response to the mobilization of dozens of activists and elected Communists who demanded, a few days earlier, the release of the vaccine patents by demonstrating in front of the headquarters of Pfizer in Paris and the WHO in Lyon. Affirming share “the idea that the vaccine must be a global public good”, the minister instead praised “donation mechanisms for low-income countries” and the participation of France in “the Covax initiative”, a program international vaccine distribution company supported by WHO.