May 4, 2020 – Reacting to reports that today’s Coronavirus Global Response Summit has raised the majority of its €7.5 billion target for the research and development of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, Heidi Chow of Global Justice Now said:  

We welcome the funding that has been pledged today and the commitment of the hosts to make any Covid-19 vaccine available, accessible and affordable to all. But what is not clear is how the hosts of today’s summit intend to achieve the aim of universal access. 

Recent history tells us that it will not happen by default. Instead the hosts of today’s Summit must take concrete actions and ensure that conditions are attached to all funding that has been pledged. These conditions should state that all publicly funded Covid-19 vaccines and treatments are patent-free. Ruling out pharmaceutical monopolies will not only prevent corporate profiteering but will also enable mass production at a scale that will be required by global demand.  

The challenge of our time is not just to develop a vaccine but to also take the bold steps needed to ensure new Covid-19 vaccines and treatments are affordable for all countries and free to the public.