We can win this – Big Pharma on backfoot as Parliament bolsters vaccine equality call
In a tight battle between Big Pharma and supporters of public health, the European Parliament has passed a resolution that further strengthens demands for the European Commission to change tack and support negotiations on the TRIPS Waiver.
While the final text is not yet enough to reflect popular demand for the EU to put peoples’ lives before Big Pharma profits, it is a positive step forward that shows that the fight for vaccine equality is winnable.
Despite a vicious campaign by Big Pharma and their allies in EU institutions to delay the vote and weaken provisions in the text that would clearly prioritise public health over corporate interests, the temporary lifting of patents is now firmly established as a solid policy proposal for the EU to take up. Now, we need the Commission to drop its relentless defence of Big Pharma greed and absurd market logic.
“Every day we’re forcing more and more decision makers to change their minds and abandon their despicable devotion to BigPharma lucre,” said Left Co-President Manon Aubry after the vote.
“When we got the European Parliament to call on the Commission to support the waiver last month, we knew the pandemic profiteers would fight back. But the movement for vaccine equality is proving stronger and now we’ve solidified this demand today thanks to colossal and ardent public support.”
“The commission is now the only institution left defending patents and Big Pharma profits. They now need to respect and follow Parliament’s vote, and fend for the TRIPS waiver at the WTO.”
“We’re gaining ground,” said Left Co-President Martin Schirdewan. “The spectacular crusade by citizens, civil society groups across and beyond Europe is working. With 200,000 citizens signed up to the ‘No profit on pandemic’ European Citizen Initiative** and hundreds of political leaders calling on the EU to save lives, the Commission has been forced to the negotiation table.”
“Six months ago this kind of official support for the TRIPS waiver would have been unthinkable. Now we know we can win. Our fight must continue and intensify. We have to keep pushing them to ensure patents are waived.”
*TRIPS – The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights is an international legal agreement of the World Trade Organization. India and South Africa tabled a proposal in October to waive certain intellectual property rules under the Agreement in order to expand access to lifesaving vaccines and other health products.
** ECI – A European Citizens’ Initiative enables one million EU citizens, from at least one quarter of the member states, to call on the Commission to propose a legal act.
Final vote result on the resolution: For 355, Against 263, Abstentions 71