Vaccinating the poorest half of humanity – 3.7 billion people - against coronavirus could cost less than the ten biggest pharmaceutical companies make in four months, Oxfam said
Oxfam today urged governments and pharmaceutical companies across the world to ensure that vaccines, tests, and treatments are patent-free and equitably distributed to all nations and people.
"Vaccines, tests and treatments should be distributed according to need, not auctioned off to the highest bidder. We need safe, patent-free vaccines, treatments and tests that can be mass produced worldwide, and a clear and fair plan for how they will be distributed," said Jose Maria Vera, Oxfam International Interim executive director, says a press release.
The agency, an international confederation of 20 non-governmental organizations, made the call ahead of the World Health Assembly which to be held on May 18 online where health ministers from 194 countries will be present.
Vaccinating the poorest half of humanity – 3.7 billion people - against coronavirus could cost less than the ten biggest pharmaceutical companies make in four months, Oxfam said.
The cost of procuring and delivering a safe and effective vaccine to the world's poorest people is $25 billion, according to the estimation of the Gates Foundation.
Last year the top ten pharmaceutical companies made $89 billion in profits – an average of just under $30 billion every four months.
Oxfam warned that rich countries and huge pharmaceutical companies – driven by national or private interests – could prevent or delay the vaccine from reaching vulnerable people, especially those living in developing countries.
The agency proposed a four-point global plan which include madatory sharing of all Covid-19 related knowledge, data and intellectual property; a commitment to deliver additional global vaccine manufacturing and distribution capacity with funding from rich nations; a globally agreed equitable distribution plan with a locked-in fairness formula; and vaccines, treatments and tests should be produced and supplied at the lowest cost possible to governments and agencies, ideally no more than $2 a dose for a vaccine, and provided free at the point of delivery to who needs it.