Stop big pharma greed to save lives

Dr Penninah Lutung
Dr Penninah Lutung

This is seemingly the same script but a different cast; the profiteering and greed of big pharma know-no-boundaries.

We have barely pulled out of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which big pharmaceutical companies once again insisted on putting profits before lives. According to Action Aid, Moderna, BioNTech, and Pfizer were reaping astronomical and unconscionable profits due to their monopolies of mRNA COVID vaccines, with the three corporations having earned more than $26 billion in revenue in the first half of 2021.

This was despite the fact that taxpayers were the primary funders of COVID-19 vaccine research, development, and production – the world owns that intellectual property, not the drug companies that continue to profit from the pandemic. African countries have been pressurising pharmaceutical companies to share their know-how and technology to increase local production and access to critical medicine in Africa and globally. There must be a paradigm shift away from viewing sharing technology with Africa as a charity or a threat to profitability.

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