Amid a global pandemic, major pharmaceutical companies are lobbying to protect billions in profits,” Sanders (I-Vt.) said after the deep-pocketed Chamber of Commerce, the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in the U.S., dismissed the proposal to waive intellectual property rights—and thus enable countless people in poor nations to access life-saving shots—as “misguided” and “a distraction.”
Echoing a demand of hundreds of civil society organizations in the U.S. and around the world, the Vermont senator called on the Biden administration to ignore big business lobbying and support the India-South Africa proposal to “waive vaccine-related IP rights at the [World Trade Organization] to rapidly expand supplies of vaccines.”
Despite garnering support from more than 100 countries, the waiver push has run up against opposition from powerful nations such as the U.S., the U.K., and Canada, which have thwarted the will of a supermajority of WTO member nations in order to ensure that pharmaceutical corporations retain monopoly control over coronavirus vaccine technology.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the new director-general of the WTO, said in an interview with Reuters last month that it is “unconscionable” that people are dying due to continued lack of access to the coronavirus vaccine “when we have the technology” to ensure that everyone is inoculated.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction