A group of personalities linked to the Latin American and international left, including former Brazilian Presidents Lula Da Silva of Ecuador, Rafael Correa and Ernesto Samper of Colombia, adhered to a manifesto published in the French newspaper Liberation in which they urge laboratories to release patents from Covid vaccines in order to turn them into commonly used goods of free manufacture. The letter published on Saturday states the following:
Over the past year, humanity has faced the coronavirus epidemic. More than 2 million people have already died from the disease worldwide. The existence of billions of human beings has been interrupted by confinements and all restrictions used in health control. The first victims are the poor. They live in overcrowded housing where the spread of the virus is most important and they work in the most exposed occupations, but their access to quality care is often very limited. Brutally affected by the temporary decline of economies, many of them are falling into poverty.
At the end of 2020, vaccines began to be authorized in various parts of the world. They were developed in record time and there are already several, who use different scientific techniques. This achievement is the result of the exceptional mobilization of thousands of researchers from around the world, especially in public institutions such as universities. It is also the result of funding from states, i.e. the peoples of the world, who have paid more than $10 billion for direct research on the vaccine.
Today, however, it is some pharmaceutical multinationals («Big Pharma») that are taking big slices of profits. US pharmaceutical company Pfizer has predicted that the sale of its vaccine will bring it $15 billion by 2021. Vaccines, as vital to humanity, are treated as goods. Private companies decide who they deliver them to and at what price. This privatization of vaccines, which WHO says is a «common good,» is slowing their spread. 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. The NGO Oxfam estimates that a vaccine should cost no more than $3.40 to make its access truly universal. We’re a long way from that. Even in Europe, private laboratories are unable to produce and deliver vaccines as quickly as they promised.
That’s why we’re proposing to release patents on vaccines and future treatments for Covid. Money should not be a barrier to global health. In many countries there are free licensing regimes, legal licenses or compulsory licenses. They allow the free manufacture and distribution of vaccines. We call on the leaders of these countries to use them as soon as possible. This will reduce the price of vaccines and speed up their production. It can save millions of lives.
In early January, the Intergovernmental Platform for Science and Policy on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) warned that we could enter a «pandemic era» due to ecological damage. We will not face this danger by focusing on Big Pharma’s private interests and fortunes. On the contrary, we must build a global society of self-help. We can start now by saying that vaccines and anti-Covid treatments are common goods.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon President of the parliamentary group France insoumise, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva former president of Brazil, Rafael Correa former president of Ecuador, Amado Boudou former Vice-President of Argentina, Jean Ziegler Vice-Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Ernesto Samper former President of Colombia, then Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations Sael Méndez Rodríguez , James Galbraith American economist, Hamma Hammami Tunisian human rights activist and politician, Biram Dah Abeid leader of the opposition in Mauritania and United Nations Human Rights Award, Veronika Mendoza former presidential candidate in Peru, Manuel Zelaya former president of Honduras, Marco Enrquez Ominami former presidential candidate of Chile, Ignacio Ramonet former director of the Diplomatic World and President of the Memory of Struggles, Aminata Traoré Former Minister of Culture of Mali, Oumar Sissoko Former Minister of Culture of Mali Gleisi Hoffmann President of the Workers’ Party in Brazil, Maite Mola Vice-President of the European Left Party, Spain, Rodriguo Mundaca Award Danielle Miterrand de Modatima, Chile, Manu Pineda Spanish MEP, Oscar Labor , Marc Botenga Belgian MEP (Belgian Labour Party), Serge Bambara known as Smockey Rapper, spokesperson for the Citizen Broom (Burkina Faso), Malin Bjork, Swedish MEP (Left Party), Nikolaj Villumsen Danish MEP (The Union List) (Left Alliance), Abdourahmane Sano coordinator of the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (Sri l) The executive director of Alaa Talbi of the Tunisian Forum on Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) , Enrique Santiago, spokesperson of the parliamentary group Podemos, Gerardo Pisarello spokesperson of the parliamentary group Unidos Podemos, Amparo Botejara, head of Health of the executive committee of Podemos, Rosa Medel spokesperson of the parliamentary group Unidos Podemos, Laura López spokesperson of the parliamentary group Unidos Podemos, Juan Carlos Monedero President of podemos think tank, Binod Shrestha, President of the General Foundation of Nepalese Trade Unions (Gefont) in Nepal , Adolfo Mendoza President of the Andalusian Parliament, Sigifredo Reyes former president of the Legislative Assembly in San Salvador, Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation Cuauhténoc, Cárdenas Solozarno ex-candidate, Fernando Buen Abad Domínguez Mexican philosopher, Pablo Rebolledo director Latin American human rights forum FODALCH, Héctor Díaz Polanco writer, anthropologist, sociologist and historian, Paco Ignacio Taibo II writer, Spanish and Mexican (Fund) , Pedro Salmerón historian, Paloma Saiz Tajero Mexican cultural activist, Lorenzo Meyer Mexican historian and academic, Jorge Eduardo Navarra Academic and Mexican writer, Binod Shrestha President GEFONT, Nepal, Ging Quintos Deles former Adviser of the President for the Peace Process in the Philippines, David Ibarra Muñoz Former Secretary of Finance and Public Credit in Mexico, Paola Pabon prefect of Pichincha in Ecuador, Costas Lapavitsas , former Greek MP, R.C Khuntia former member of the Indian Parliament, Chandrah Prakash Singh INTUC trade unionist in India, Velayutham Ruthiradeepan trade unionist, Vice-President of the National Trade Union Federation in Sri Lanka, Welcome Matumo spokesperson for the La Lucha movement, DRC.