AstraZeneca vaccine deal must be made public following successful trial results, say campaigners
Date: 23 November 2020
In response to the news that the Oxford University vaccine shows 70% protection, Heidi Chow, pharmaceuticals campaigner at Global Justice Now said:
“These results are good news, but with so much government funding for this vaccine, it is time Oxford University’s deal with pharma giant AstraZeneca was made public. Individual parts have been leaked to the media, but the deal itself has been kept secret, so we don’t know the legal framework for making the vaccine available to the world.
“The pledge not to make profit during the pandemic is positive, but without AstraZeneca opening the books on their costs and explaining how and when they can declare the end of the pandemic, it could be a mirage of affordable access. We already know they are able to add 20% to the cost of manufacture for nebulous ‘expenses’.(1)
“The contracts already signed for the 3 billion doses AstraZeneca say they can produce in 2021 are distributed among a wider range of countries than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but it still falls short of the doses needed across the world.(2) Leaving people who are most at risk in lower-income countries without a vaccine for potentially years is self-defeating as the virus could mutate rendering the vaccines hoarded by rich countries useless.
“The public has contributed almost £1 billion (3) to this vaccine’s research and development and tens of thousands of people around the world have volunteered in its trials (4). This means we have the right not just to see the deal but also to demand that this is truly a people’s vaccine. It should not be locked up by corporate monopolies but should be openly licensed and the technological know-how shared so that any company or government can manufacture it to help end this pandemic for everyone.”
1. AstraZeneca says its Oxford vaccine deal allows it to add up to 20% of manufacturing costs, 24 October 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-astrazeneca-vaccine-idUSKBN27905E
2. A coronavirus vaccine will save more lives if we share it widely, 17 September 2020, https://www.popsci.com/story/health/coronavirus-vaccine-bill-gates-report
3. See sources and breakdown of public funding: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1C2tOFupoVf0vpOY0UYFkbEEBzktBhE-Z7Flr6nDSrhM/edit?usp=sharing