The European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Right to Cure’, a coalition of over 200 European civil society organizations from 14 European countries, reached a first threshold of 100.000 signatures today.
The aim of the initiative is to push a legislative proposal to urge the European Commission to make vaccine producers like Pfizer/ BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, share vaccine science and technology, to waive patents and insist that all other major vaccine producers get involved in production. To do this, the coalition needs to collect 1 million signatures.
Sharing technology would lift an obstacle to the increasing currently delayed production and equal access to vaccines worldwide, and would make governments worldwide less dependent on production capacity of a few pharmaceutical companies. Globally, UNICEF data quoted by Oxfam suggest just 43 per cent of reported COVID-19 vaccine production capacity is currently being used for the approved vaccines.
The supply of safe and effective vaccines for all is being artificially rationed because of the protection of exclusive rights and monopolies of pharmaceutical corporations, the People’s Vaccine Alliance showed.
In the past, intellectual property rights have been lifted in order to deal with major health crises. Jonas Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine, brought his invention to market without a patent. The disease has now been almost completely eradicated.“During the HIV-crisis, millions of people died because they couldn’t afford treatment and protection. After a decade-long battle, pharmaceutical companies were forced to allow patent exceptions. The world simply can’t afford to wait this long”, Julie Steendam, European coordinator of the initiative explains.
Although the research and development of vaccines and treatments is largely paid for with public money, companies can still claim intellectual property rights and cash in billions of profits. This monopoly position guarantees enormous profits in the midst of a pandemic at the expense of human lives.
Julie Steendam, coordinator of the European Citizens’ Initiative Right to Cure: “Public investments should yield public goods, benefiting all, not private property to the benefit of shareholders. The European Commission must override this broken system of patents, monopolies and secrecy to deliver a vaccine for all. With our European citizens’ Initiative, we have the power to make them do so.”
The European Citizens’ Initiative can be signed here: www.noprofitonpandemic.eu
A European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is a direct way for EU Citizens to propose a concrete legislative amendment to the European Commission. For an initiative to be considered by the Commission, you need to get 1 million people from across the EU to sign it in support.
The Right to Cure ECI is supported by over 200 health NGOs, trade unions and public health associations: https://noprofitonpandemic.eu/
The Peoples’ Vaccine Alliance is a coalition of global and national organizations and activists united under a common aim of campaigning for a ‘People’s Vaccine’. The call for a People’s Vaccine is backed by past and present world leaders, health experts, faith leaders and economists. For more information visit: https://peoplesvaccine.org