The worldwide distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines exposes the immorality of our current economic system. Dr. Dean Baker sheds important light.
Dr. Dean Baker exposes a sad reality about our economic system.
Recently there was a headline at Common Dreams that drew my ire. It is titled “Pfizer Helped Create the Global Patent Rules. Now It’s Using Them to Undercut Access to the Covid Vaccine.” The article pointed out that the rich western countries did not want to suspend patent to allow the wide distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. After reading following two paragraphs it was clear I needed to talk to Dr. Dean Baker.
Dean Baker, economist and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), a left-leaning think tank, tells In These Times, “TRIPS required developing countries, and countries around the world, to adopt a U.S.-type patent and copyright rule. Previously, both had been outside trade agreements, so countries could have whatever rules they want. India already had a well-developed pharmaceutical industry by the 1990s. Pre-TRIPS, India didn’t allow drug companies to patent drugs. They could patent processes, but not drugs.”
TRIPS brought profits to pharmaceutical companies and “raised pharmaceutical costs in the U.S. and further restricted the availability of lifesaving drugs in WTO developing countries,” according to corporate watchdog group Public Citizen. This dynamic played out ruthlessly during the AIDS crisis, which was in full swing as the WTO was created. “It took the South African government almost a decade to break the monopolies held by foreign drug companies that kept the country hostage, and kept people there dying,” wrote Achal Prabhala, Arjun Jayadev and Dean Baker in a recent piece in the New York Times.
Dr. Baker did not disappoint as he made everything much clearer. Listen to the entire enlightening interview.
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