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COVID-19 pandemic: ‘An opportunity of a lifetime’?

 

The race is on to find an effective treatment and vaccine for COVID-19.

Everyone hopes a solution will be found quickly. The problem is, once a successful drug is identified it may not be available for everyone. This is not what people want to hear, not now. The world is still in crisis-mode. It would be an injustice piled on top of a crisis.

But that’s exactly why all countries must act NOW.

A lack of preparation and over-pricing would result in more deaths.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have proven that the key drugs being tested in clinical trials for COVID-19 can all be mass-produced, at a profit, for around $1 a day – or even less.

A pandemic must not be an opportunity for ‘super’ profits, as investment firms have stated.

It would clearly be unscrupulous to view the ‘healthy’ returns that the pharma industry could make as a ‘once in a generation opportunity’. Yet, despite this blatant investment advice, along with the pharma industry’s terrible track record, the New York Times ran a piece which said “there should be no big-pharma haters in pandemics”.

To be clear: As treatment activists we are pro-innovation, and we are not anti-profit.

Treatment and vaccines can transform lives and communities.

We need science for everyone. We know clinical researchers, and we know they agree.

They develop drugs to save our lives. Not for bottles of ‘expensive’ treatment to sit unused on shelves because our governments can’t afford to buy enough for everyone in need, or for intellectual property (IP) barriers to prevent not enough being made in the first place.

To the pharma executives and stakeholders, many who themselves are worried for their own health and lives, and those of their families, we say this:

It’s simple. If you believe science is for everyone, prove it. No patent monopolies on any COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments or vaccines. Make any successful drugs available for around $1 a day, or less.

 

  • Read more about the research and our recommendations: The effects of COVID-19 must not be exacerbated by the current patent and pricing system. Countries should adopt systematic, compulsory mechanisms that expedite access to any medicines or technologies that may be needed.
  • What the media said: From front page of Le Monde, followed by a full-page spread, to the Financial Times, BBC and Bloomberg, read how the press have responded to the research.

Topics: Access to medicines, COVID-19, Intellectual property & access to medicines

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