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Covid-19 Pharma Companies Backing Unwanted Human Rights Crisis

Six corporations leading the Covid-19 vaccine rollout are fueling an unprecedented human rights crisis by refusing to relinquish intellectual property rights and share vaccine technology. Along with the majority neglecting to prioritize vaccine supply to poorer nations, according to Amnesty International. In a new report titled A Double Dose of Inequality: Pharma Companies and the Covid-19 Vaccines Crisis, AstraZeneca plc, BioNTech SE, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Inc., Novavax, Inc., and Pfizer, Inc.

They assessed six companies that control the fate of billions of people: AstraZeneca plc, BioNTech SE, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Inc., Novavax, Inc. It portrays a bleak image of an industry that blatantly disregards human rights.Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary-General, said, “Vaccinating the world is our only pathway out of this crisis. It should be time to hail these companies, who created vaccines so quickly, as heroes. But instead, to their shame and our collective grief, Big Pharma’s intentional blocking of knowledge transfer and their wheeling and dealing in favor of wealthy states has brewed an utterly predictable and utterly devastating vaccine scarcity for so many others.”

Amnesty International examined each company’s human rights policy, vaccine price structure, intellectual property records, knowledge and technology sharing, fair allocation of available vaccine doses, and transparency to assess their response to the crisis. It ruled that the six vaccine developers had failed to meet their human rights obligations to varying degrees. As a result, only 0.3 percent of the 5.76 billion doses delivered worldwide went to low-income countries, with the remaining 79 percent going to upper-middle and high-income countries.

Despite demands to prioritize and engage with the COVAX Facility, an international mechanism aimed at ensuring a fair global vaccine allocation, some of the assessed corporations have continued to stockpile vaccine supplies for countries that have been identified as hoarding the vaccine.

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