August 24, 2021: The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that the Federal Industry Minister Christian Porter has found that Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna, who hold the patents for the only two mRNA vaccines against COVID-19, don’t want to licence or sub-contract to a local manufacturer.
August 23, 2021: An extensive report in The Saturday Paper exposes that the Morrison government is stalling on the proposal for a temporary waiver of 20-year monopoly patent rights on COVID-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
August 16, 2021: The campaign to change WTO rules to rapidly boost production of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and equipment is stalemated in the World Trade Organisation, but it has a new champion in Chelsea Clinton, now a professor of health policy at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.
August 5, 2021: Leaders of the Catholic, Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian and United Church of Christ Churches and the trade union centre the AFL-CIO joined Jubilee USA for a meeting with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai yesterday to support the waiving of COVID-19 vaccine patents at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
July 28, 2021: Faith leaders from across the globe and from numerous faith traditions gathered together on July 20 both on Zoom and with some 100 participants in person on the National Mall in Washington DC to urge President Joe Biden to share COVID-19 vaccine stockpiles and to advocate for equitable global distribution of vaccines.
Message from Medecins Sans Frontières
Pharmaceutical company patent monopolies are the elephant in the room in the debate about Covid-19 vaccine shortages in Australia.
Most of debate locally has been about whether the federal government ordered enough vaccine doses last year from Pfizer and other companies. This misses the broader point that a handful of pharmaceutical companies control both the price and quantity of vaccines.
Even in the context of a global pandemic, they can set the terms in closed-door negotiations with rich countries. These companies have already made billions from vaccines which were developed at record speeds and supported with public funds.
Dr Patricia Ranald, AFTINET Convenor, explains the situation in today's the Guardian online.
MEDIA RELEASE July 19, 2021
An unusually wide range of national church, public health, aid and development and other civil society groups representing millions of Australians today sent the attached open letter to Government Ministers. The letter urges them to support the proposal for a temporary waiver of patent monopolies on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments that will be discussed at a key meeting of the World Trade Organisation on July 20.
July 14, 2021: German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces US protests tomorrow at her government’s opposition to the suspension of 20-year monopoly patents on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments at the World Trade Organisation. A “die-in” will be staged with a giant Merkel puppet lurking over dozens of body bags representing the millions of lives on the line.