Thursday, September 07, 2023

Healthcare inequity: How Big Pharma and Western Governments betrayed countries of the Global South

    Thursday, September 07, 2023   No comments

First, it was Western governments that prioritized the vaccination of people in Europe over the need to protect the most vulnerable. For two years, EU governments either banned the export of covid vaccines outside the bloc or pressured companies to prioritize orders coming from Europe, even after many people in Europe were vaccinated, not just once, but twice.

Now, it is the turn of big pharma; companies that are headquartered in the West and protected by western governments, have been bullying African governments to sign deals for the supply of vaccines at higher prices.

It is now reported that Pharmaceutical giant Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and generic manufacturer Serum Institute of India (SII) charged the South African government more than the European Union for COVID-19 vaccines – and South Africa assumed all the risk in ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ contracts with Pfizer, J&J and SII.

 


This is according to an analysis of the contracts led by Health Justice Initiative (HJI), a South African NGO that won a court challenge last month to get access to all South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine contracts.

 

J&J charged South Africa $10 a dose, 15% more than the company charged the European Union (EU), and the government was required to pay a non-refundable down payment of $27.5 million.

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