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In response to BBC Newsnight report, UK campaigners and patients call for concrete commitments on access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

Last night’s BBC Newsnight (14 May) reported on the barriers that could prevent fair access to potential COVID-19 vaccines, including the UK’s role in slowing down progress to overcome pharmaceutical monopolies in negotiations ahead of a crucial World Health Organisation meeting on Monday. 

More than twenty organisations have signed an open letter to Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon calling on the Scottish government to use its powers to override any patents that are put on new medicines and vaccines for Covid-19 in order to block pharmaceutical companies from profiteering from the pandemic.

A coalition of social justice, international aid and public health organisations in the UK [1] is calling on the government to ensure all funding raised at Coronavirus Global Response Summit on 4 May [2] leads to equitable access on vaccines, treatments and tests: 

With most of the world focused on stopping the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump and Johnson administrations are moving forward this week with US-UK trade negotiations that civil society groups in both countries worry could privilege corporate profits at the expense of the environment, consumer safety, public health and worker rights.  

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. 

Reaction to reports that US-UK trade talks are to restart virtually next week.

UK urged to guarantee that any Covid-19 medicines or technologies created with public funds are available to all, patent-free

International organisations call on UK government to prevent Big Pharma profiteering from Covid-19

Campaigners call for $40 billion of debts to be cancelled in 2020, as IMF announces $0.5 billion fund.

Aid

A documentary by the BBC’s award-winning Africa Eye team, aired yesterday, has reported on concerns of alleged fraud, bribery and other highly questionable business practices by two British managers appointed by a UK aid-backed private equity fund to run its investee Kenyan firm Spencon.

A group of charities and campaigning groups has written to the government today, calling on them to halt trade negotiations with the United States to focus instead on the health and economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The letter was sent following comments made by the United States Trade Representative on Monday 23 March 2020 in which he confirmed that “both the United States and the United Kingdom are committed to starting trade negotiations as soon as possible”.

Only the most radical reset, akin to a post-world war overhaul of the international economy, will allow us to rebuild the international economy in a way which means we can tackle future pandemics.

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