CADTM International, 8 June, 2021
As a new round of negotiations begins at the World Trade Organization (WTO), more than 350 personalities from around the world lend their support to the Manifesto End the Private Patent System! For a pharmaceutical industry under popular control and a free, universal and public vaccination system, which was launched by the CADTM global network and is endorsed by more than 250 organizations, including major international networks like the World March of Women and the People’s Health Movement, as listed here.
The list of personalities is made public this Tuesday, June 8, on the occasion of the WTO meeting is discussing the suspension of patents on vaccines. The patents protect the interests of a small group of large private pharmaceutical companies and prevent a proper response to the pandemic that has already caused the death of over 3 million 745 thousand people.
Among the personalities who signed the petition are, Noam Chomsky and Nancy Fraser from the United States, Naomi Klein from Canada, Arundhati Roy and Tithi Bhattacharya from India, Silvia Federici and Cinzia Arruza from Italy, trade union leaders, association leaders, more than eighty parliamentarians (from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Portugal, Spain…) including the President of the Senate of Bolivia and 22 members of the European Parliament. There are also mayors like that of Valparaiso in Chile or Cadiz in Spain and many elected officials at the municipal or regional level. Heads of news and opinion magazines as well as journalists support the Manifesto. Many academics endorse to the Manifesto.
Beyond the negotiations taking place at the WTO, the signatories affirm that it is necessary to adopt structural measures to respond to the global health crisis and the degradation of the living conditions of billions of human beings. The signatories state that “Vaccines therefore should be considered a global public good.” They add that “To ensure their universal accessibility, it is necessary and urgent to suspend the patents. This measure must be accompanied by mechanisms for the nationalization of private pharmaceutical industries and a strong investment in the development of public pharmaceutical industries in all countries.”
The signatories stress that “Global challenges such as a pandemic require appropriate global responses. The corporate economy, blind faith in the market and the pursuit of profit have proven to be incompatible with the well-being of Humanity. Health is not a commodity. Economic recovery cannot be at the expense of health or the rights of the majority.” They assert that “The pandemic has accelerated and deepened dangerous trends, social gaps and multidimensional phenomena that we have been observing for decades and in which the working classes, especially women and racialized people, suffer most.”
Regarding vaccines and treatments, the signatories call for:
- The suspension of private patents on all technologies, knowledge, treatments and vaccines related to Covid-19.
- The elimination of trade secrets and the publication of information on the production costs and public investments used, in a clear and publicly accessible manner.
- Transparency and public scrutiny at all stages of vaccine development.
- Universal, free and open access to vaccination and treatment.
Regarding Big Pharma, the signatories demand “The expropriation and socialization under popular control of the private pharmaceutical industry as a basis for a universal public health system that promotes the production of generic treatments and medicines.”
Regarding the health care in the broadest sense, they demand “Increased public investment and budgets for public health and community care policies, including more staff, higher salaries and improved working conditions in these sectors.”
Concerning the financing they demand “The introduction of taxes on wealth (wealth and income of the richest 1%) to finance the effort against the pandemic and to ensure a socially just and ecologically sustainable exit from the various crises of global capitalism.
The suspension of sovereign debt payments for the duration of the pandemic and the cancellation of illegitimate debts and those contracted to finance the fight against the virus.”
For CADTM, it is essential to take up the initiative launched after Seattle in 1999, which firmly maintained that “the world is not a commodity. Health is not a commodity either” and “another world is (still) possible”. It is essential to re-launch an alterglobalization movement from a solid base, as was the case in 2000/2001.