We witnessed the unusual games of our time almost in real time.A kind Science and Economic Career In the worst health crisis of the last century, the goal of researchers and pharmaceutical laboratories is clear: a vaccine for covid-19.But it is not only essential Safe and effectiveInstead, global access must be ensured.
Today, more than 200 vaccines against covid-19 are under development. Of these, 48 have been tested in humans, and 11 are in the final stages of development. Phase III clinical trial.
As the goal gets closer, Competition between companies It is getting bigger and bigger. Therefore, in recent days, we have witnessed a dance of preliminary data on vaccine effectiveness from different large pharmaceutical companies.
Pfizer announced a very high percentage of effectiveness (90%) a week ago. Within a few hours, the developers of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V raised their stakes slightly: 92%. Two days later, Moderna announced its decision: 94.5%. Only 48 hours later, Pfizer, who had felt its tail, announced a 95% ratio and participated in the competition again.
There is no doubt that these announcements are responses to the company’s own analysis and are not included in scientific publications. Business strategy As seen in the last few days, Speculation on the International Stock Exchange. Undoubtedly, they are the first of many announcements we will see in the coming weeks.
For pharmaceutical companies, this race inevitably creates a parallel race between the state and its government departments.A kind Nationalist and protectionist race Everyone wants to make sure Catering The vaccine of the future. A race through advanced purchase agreements between countries and companies will undoubtedly bring benefits to those with greater purchasing power.
If the most successful development succeeds, the richest countries have already received millions of doses of vaccines.but What about the poorest and middle-income countries?
Seemingly racially imbalanced a priori.The data shows: according to OxfamRich countries, which account for only 13% of the world’s population, have received more than half of the doses promised by major pharmaceutical companies in the vaccine race. One notorious example that best illustrates this situation is Moderna, which has dedicated all its production to rich countries.
The same is true for Pfizer: According to the analysis, the company said its production capacity of 1.35 billion doses by the end of next year, of which more than 1 billion doses (82%) have been sold to the wealthiest governments.of Global justice now.
The WHO itself has warned of the dangers of this strategy and that these agreements will bring difficulties for all countries in the world to use future vaccines. “Vaccine nationalism will only perpetuate this disease”, Recently noticed its CEO Dr. Tedros.
Lack of transparency
The same goes for the agreements reached with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, and Johnson & Johnson.
Countries seem to have accepted the rules of the game imposed by large pharmaceutical companies. If not, the EU government may agree to pay this fee. Indemnity Form The possible adverse effects of vaccination in Europe?
Is a vaccine suitable for everyone?
These events are unacceptable when millions of euros are invested in public funds, and they are in stark contrast to the company’s commitment to sustainable development. The vaccine price is fair, the price is fair Reach the whole world. Some companies such as AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson have even come to an end to ensure that they will not profit from future vaccines.
However, we have fallen into the same trap again, and we have fallen into one of the biggest problems facing the biomedical R&D system and pharmaceutical policy: lack of transparency and confidentiality-derived from Intellectual Property Protection On the product side-they will not let us know how much the vaccine will cost, so it is impossible to know whether the price that the pharmaceutical company will charge matches that fee.
So far, large companies that have not yet developed a vaccine against COVID-19 have joined the global program, such as A proposed by the World Health OrganizationTo publicly share intellectual property rights.If we want everyone to have access to the vaccine, then the company can’t have it monopoly Regarding the vaccines they developed; even fewer are those who have received public funding, which is the vast majority.
The patent rights and exclusivity of vaccines do not allow other companies to manufacture vaccines, nor can they face one of the biggest challenges of this pandemic: the ability to produce and distribute all necessary doses of vaccines in all countries of the world as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, rich countries don’t seem to be very committed to this cause. Just a few days ago, the European Union and major powers (the United States, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Norway, Brazil, and the United Kingdom) did not support India and South Africa’s proposals to the World Trade Organization. Exemption from intellectual property standards for covid-19 technology. On November 20, at the new WTO meeting, the proposal will be submitted to the meeting again.
Fortunately, the vaccine race has become unstoppable. The problem is to know how to distribute it and what to do to ensure that everyone, including those in the poorest countries, can get it.This has nothing to do with charity: to end the pandemic, the world needs a Global Immunization. We need universal access to safe, effective and affordable vaccines, and these vaccines must be provided to everyone free of charge. That’s nothing else, it should be the only goal of this game.
Vanessa López is Right to health