European citizens and left-wing organizations are mobilizing for the European Commission to commit to making vaccines and anti-pandemic treatments a global public good, free for all.
Tribune. In France and around the world, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread since the end of containment. Prevention measures cannot be enough to contain its spread when there is still no treatment.
The European Commission is currently negotiating, without any transparency, the purchases of possible vaccines against Covid-19 with the large multinational pharmaceutical companies, without any guarantee. One of the negotiators is none other than Richard Bergström, who for five years was at the head of EFPIA, the main lobby of the pharmaceutical industry! Worse still, multinationals could escape the payment of certain indemnities, or even be compensated in the event of “hidden defects”.
While public money massively finances this research in the form of direct grants or research tax credit, private laboratories have launched into frenzied competition. Winning the world market is their only goal, with huge profits as a result. This logic of commodification is also accompanied by massive layoffs, such as the announcement last June of the abolition of 1,700 jobs in Europe within the Sanofi group, including 1,000 in France for the next three years.
The vaccine, like all drugs, must be a common good, meeting everyone’s health needs. These essential products cannot be considered as a commodity, and therefore subject to the logic of profit. We have seen in the past multinationals going so far as to refuse the sale of HIV drugs to African or Latin American countries for reasons of selling prices deemed insufficient. This must not happen again!
In France, the pricing mechanism remains opaque although it is regulated by a so-called transparency commission. This vaccine must be raised to the rank of common heritage of mankind and put “off the market”! This is the meaning of the call launched by the WHO on May 19 with the resolution aiming to make the vaccine a “global public good”. This is in line with our approach requiring the creation of a real public center for medicines and research in France, Europe and at the United Nations level!
The question of universal access to a safe vaccine arises now and we ask that it be made available free of charge to all. In France, this is part of our fight for 100% coverage of the drug by social security.
Our entire social protection system is now at the end of its rope following twenty years of neoliberal policies. It is necessary to carry out far-reaching reforms which, in the pharmaceutical sector require in particular:
A) To refuse any closure of healthcare establishments and any dismissal.
B) To invest massively in the hospital and the drug sector.
C) Abandon the fixing of the price of vaccines and drugs according to the SMR (actual benefit), which has no economic, social or ethical basis.
D) To put an end to the patent system, which serves only to impose unsustainable prices and to implement, without delay, the principle of the so-called “compulsory license” system, issued by a State, which allows free from the laws of profit.
E) To set up a public pole for research, production and distribution of the drug at national and European level. The public authorities which finance basic research but also largely applied research must fully control the production chain of products to meet the needs of populations. We therefore propose to create a public establishment which finances research and is the owner of the patents it files.
With European citizens and left-wing organizations, we launched the # Right2Cure petition, so that the European Commission commits to making vaccines and anti-pandemic treatments a global public good, freely accessible to all.
A first victory was obtained since last August 21 the European institutions validated our citizens’ initiative. We will now need to collect a million signatures at European level in order to include this issue in the political debate and push our leaders to take concrete measures! We therefore invite you now to sign, disseminate and mobilize around this petition: www.right2cure.eu/fra in order to build the next stages of citizen mobilization.
No profit on the pandemic is the watchword of this campaign which intends to work towards another national, European and international policy, based on cooperation rather than competition, on meeting the needs of the populations and not of shareholders!
Fabien Roussel, national secretary of the PCF and deputy of the North. Laurence Cohen, Senator of Val-de-Marne, member of the social affairs committee Dr Christophe Prudhomme, emergency doctor, CGT. Dr Michèle Leflon, president of the Coordination of local hospitals and maternities. Dr Frédéric Villebrun, President of the Syndicate of Health Center Physicians. Barbara Filhol, General Secretary CGT of the Health Union, department of Val-de-Marne. Thierry bodin, CGT Sanofi