LOS ANGELES (November 10, 2022) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) condemned today as criminal big pharma’s meddling in the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS waiver proposal negotiations, which would have allowed more countries to produce COVID-19 vaccines.
According to POLITICO, “Between January 2020 and September 2022, 13 pharmaceutical lobby groups and companies held nearly 100 meetings with the most senior [European] Commission officials. In the U.K., there were more than 360 meetings between January 2020 and March 2022 — equivalent to nearly one every two days.” Conversely, civil society groups advocating for vaccine equity only met with EC officials about 60 times and had only 20 U.K. meetings. From 2020 to 2021, big pharma and the largest lobbying groups spent over €30.7 million to lobby the EU during the pandemic.
“We knew the pharmaceutical industry – namely the big three COVID-19 vaccine makers, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna – had a stranglehold on politicians globally, but this investigation reveals just how far they’ll go to put profits over people’s lives. The only word to describe it is ‘disgusting,’” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “We, along with other vaccine equity advocates, condemn big pharma for their manipulative tactics to force countries to choose between lifesaving medicines or their economies taking a financial hit by drug companies threatening to withdraw investments. It’s despicable behavior, and we urge governments to address this conduct immediately as a threat to national and global health security – particularly during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.”
AHF has advocated for vaccine equity since the start of the pandemic, including holding multiple protests at the headquarters of Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J. Numerous AHF country teams also delivered letters to the embassies of rich countries in an effort to garner support for the WTO’s TRIPS waiver proposal.