In relation to the corona virus pandemic (COVID-19), Oxfam International Non-Provit Organization which is consisted of some organizations in a world and was founded in 1942 in Oxford, insists policy makers and global pharmaceutical companies to release patents for the COVID-19 vaccine and with low production and distribution costs.
"The cost to give vaccines to 3.7 billion people is cheaper than the costs and profits of the ten biggest pharmaceutical companies in four months. Anything that prevents vaccines from being freely available to those in need is a very bad thing." Oxfam International Non-Provit Executive Director, Jose Maria Vera said in a written statement received in Jakarta on Friday, May 15, 2020.
The insistence was made ahead of the World Health Organization meeting which will take place virtually on Monday, 18 May 2020 and will be attended by Ministers of Health from 194 countries in the world.
The Gates Foundation estimates that safe and effective vaccine procurement and delivery costs for the poorest people in the world are Rp. 372.2 billion. Last year, the top ten global pharmaceutical companies generated a profit of Rp 1.4 trillion with an average of Rp 447.9 billion every four months.
Oxfam warns, if rich countries and large pharmaceutical companies only prioritize the interests of the state and the private sector without considering the conditions of other countries, the vaccine will be increasingly difficult to access by vulnerable groups, especially those living in developing countries.
The European Union has proposed voluntary patent collection and cross-licensing for vaccines, treatments and corona virus tests in their draft resolution for the World Health Organization.
If this proposal is mandatory throughout the world, all countries can ensure the production and import of vaccines, treatments and tests are available at a lower cost.
Oxfam hopes pharmaceutical companies do not have the exclusive right to launch a monopoly that is producing and setting their own prices for each vaccine, treatment and test that they develop. And even if tax money has been used to fund such research and development.
After vaccines or treatments are developed, according to Vera, there is a high risk that rich governments will force their way forward and defeat poor and developing countries, as happens in the struggle for other important medical supplies such as personal protective equipment and oxygen.
Many poor countries cannot access essential vaccines and medicines because of patent rules that give pharmaceutical companies monopoly rights and the power to set prices far above what they can afford.
Oxfam urges policy makers to ensure that vaccines, tests and treatments will be patent free and distributed evenly to all countries and community groups.
Oxfam's Country Director in Indonesia, Maria Lauranti, said that the Government of Indonesia plays a huge role in fighting for health policies at the global level by ensuring vaccines are accessible to all without exception in developing and poor countries.
"The Government of Indonesia is no exception having the responsibility to oversee this at the global level. As Chair of the Foreign Policy and Global Health Initiative in 2020, Indonesia raised the theme of affordable health services for all, "said Maria.
Oxfam International Interim Executive Director, Jose Maria Vera, concluded that providing affordable vaccines for everyone would require unprecedented global cooperation. The government must prioritize people's health over patents and profits of pharmaceutical companies.
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