Sanders Urges Biden to Support Effort to Suspend Pharma Patents

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      “It is unconscionable that amid a global health crisis, huge multibillion dollar pharmaceutical companies continue to prioritize profits by protecting their monopolies and driving up prices rather than prioritizing the lives of people everywhere, including in the Global South,” Sanders said in a video released Wednesday as part of a global virtual “Rally for a People’s Vaccine.”

      In order to ramp up coronavirus vaccine production to meet global need and distribute doses “as quickly as humanly possible,” Sanders said “the United States should play a major role in promoting global cooperation and innovation.” At present, the U.S. — along with other wealthy nations where major pharmaceutical companies are based — is blocking India and South Africa’s push for a patent waiver, which industry lobbying groups are mobilizing to crush.

      “Our government has invested enormous sums of taxpayer dollars into the production of these technologies. All people should benefit, not just a few already obscenely wealthy CEOs and shareholders in the wealthiest country on Earth,” said the Vermont senator. “We need a People’s Vaccine, not a Profit Vaccine.”

      Less than a week after the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a leading industry lobbying organization, called on Biden to uphold U.S. opposition to the patent-waiver proposal, Sanders said Wednesday that he is sending a letter to the president demanding his support for the plan “so that we can rapidly expand supplies of vaccines” without the constraints imposed by pharma monopolies.

      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

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