As Global Pandemic Worsens, U.S. Keeps Blocking Vaccine Patent Waivers Amid Big Pharma Lobbying

Big Pharma has hired an army of lobbyists to pressure U.S. lawmakers to block an effort at the World Trade Organization to loosen intellectual property rules on COVID-19 vaccines, which would allow countries around the world to ramp up production, vaccinate more people and bring the pandemic to an end sooner. Dozens of countries from the Global South, led by India and South Africa, are demanding a temporary waiver on vaccine patents, but rich countries, including the U.S. under both the Trump and Biden administrations, have opposed the move. Lee Fang, investigative journalist at The Intercept, says there is a “glut” of vaccines going to wealthy countries while…

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The government must prove it’s not helping big pharma screw over poorer countries getting vaccines

MPs and campaigners are urging the government to prove it’s not putting the interests of pharmaceutical companies above poor countries in need of vaccines. Cross-party MPs came together to demand the government publish details of communications with pharmaceutical companies and lobbyists to ensure businesses have not been given preferential treatment in vaccine policy. This comes amid revelations that the Covax programme, meant to provide vaccines to poorer countries, is severely behind on its delivery targets. Pharmaceutical and humanitarian campaigners have called for intellectual property rights on vaccines to be waived so they can be mass-produced and get to struggling nations faster. However, the UK, along with the US…

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Share the Technology: Experts Say We Must End Big Pharma Monopoly on COVID Vaccine Supply & Price

As rich countries race to roll out their vaccination programs, leaders in the Global South and global health advocates are increasingly decrying vaccine hoarding that has pushed poorer countries to the back of the line during the pandemic. Some rich countries have secured enough COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate their populations several times over, while poorer countries struggle to secure enough doses, almost certainly prolonging the pandemic by months or even years. Public health policy expert Dr. Mohga Kamal-Yanni says an obvious way to address the issue is to share technology so more companies in more countries can produce the vaccines. “There is a supply issue,” she says. “We’re…

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Progressives Demand “Corporate-Free Cabinet” as Biden Taps Pharma & Fossil Fuel Allies for Top Jobs

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. Today, climate and racial justice activists are joining unions and newly elected members of Congress to call on President-elect Joe Biden to address COVID, the economy and climate change, and appoint a, quote, “corporate-free Cabinet.” Their push comes as Biden announced several new appointments Tuesday, including Louisiana Congressmember Cedric Richmond to lead the White House Office of Public Engagement. The Sunrise Movement described the appointment of Richmond as a “betrayal” because he’s the leading Democratic recipient of fossil fuel money in Congress. This comes…

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Progressives Demand "Corporate-Free Cabinet" as Biden Taps Pharma & Fossil Fuel Allies for Top Jobs

Climate and racial justice activists are mobilizing with union members and newly elected members of Congress at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee to call on President-elect Joe Biden to address the intersecting crises of the pandemic, economy and climate change. They’re also calling for Biden to create a “corporate-free Cabinet,” following his recent announcement of aides that included people with close ties to the pharmaceutical and fossil fuel industries. Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for the progressive group Justice Democrats, says it will be important to maintain pressure on the incoming administration in order to fulfill grassroots demands. “Unlike President Obama in 2008, there is not much of…

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