Achal Prabhala is a fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation and coordinator of the accessibsa project, which campaigns for access to medicines in India, Brazil, and South Africa.
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Patents vs. the Pandemic
With the COVID-19 death toll rising, we should question the wisdom and morality of an IP system that silently condemns millions of human beings to suffering and death every year.
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Arjun Jayadev has an article in the NY Times on the crisis of access to affordable medicines and the need to suspend intellectual property rights
“the vaccines developed by these companies were developed thanks wholly or partly to taxpayer money. Those vaccines essentially belong to the people — and yet the people are about to pay for them again, and with little prospect of getting as many as they need fast enough. … mounting pressure from poor countries at the W.T.O. should give the governments of rich countries leverage to negotiate with their pharmaceutical companies for cheaper drugs and vaccines worldwide. Leaning on those companies is the right thing to do in the face of a global pandemic; it is also the best way for the governments of rich countries to take care of their own populations, which in some cases experience more severe drug shortages than do people in far less affluent places.” — Achal Prabhala, Arjun Jayadev and Dean Baker