Campaign win: now tell the Trade Minister to deliver on his promise to waive monopoles on COVID-19 vaccines
September 10, 2021: More than 50,000 Australians signed petitions demanding the Australian Government put people before profits and support a temporary waiver on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules that give pharmaceutical companies 20-year monopolies for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
Thousands more emailed their MPs, asking that they take this issue up directly with the Federal Trade Minister Dan Tehan.
And we won! Thanks to our collective efforts, Minister Tehan said last week he supports the waiver!
This is a huge win for people power and shows that when we stand up and raise our voices together, we can make change.
But now we need to make sure he delivers on that promise in WTO meetings that begin this week. You can send a message to the Trade Minister here.
More than 100 governments support the temporary waiver on monopoly rules because without access to vaccines, millions are dying as more infectious strains like Delta develop. The waiver would enable a huge increase in production of vaccines at low prices by countries like India and South Africa, which already produce cheaper generic medicines, and give fair access to people in low-income countries.
The WTO operates on consensus and some countries like Germany are still opposing, thanks to lobbying by pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer which have already made billions from vaccines. Our government needs to act to ensure the waiver gets more support.
So the fight isn’t over yet. We need to make sure the Australian government delivers at the next round of WTO meetings that begin on Tuesday September 14. It must now work with other supportive governments to help lead the passage of the waiver at the upcoming WTO meetings.