An affect “extreme” who ” evening “ to public well being. That is how two NGOs specializing in well being qualify, of their newest report, the connection between pharmaceutical firms and the European establishments.
The affect of the pharmaceutical foyer within the European establishments, whether or not within the European Fee or the European Parliament, would have been amplified in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. And this, not with out influence on the well being of residents.
In any case, that is what the International Well being Advocates (GHA) and StopAids associations level out of their report printed this Friday (January 20).
“Non-public pursuits have exerted an outsized affect on European decision-makers in the course of the pandemic, leading to an absence of transparency on publicly funded vaccine contracts,” abstract Rowan Dunn, EU Advocacy Coordinator at GHA, in an interview with EURACTIV France.
Return. In March 2020, because the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in Europe, the European Fee sought to supply doses of vaccines to Member States as shortly as attainable. “Presently, the European Fee promotes the vaccine as a typical good accessible to all”explains Rowan Dunn.
However in a short time, Europe was falling behind in its vaccination marketing campaign, significantly in comparison with the UK and america, and a ” public stress » begins to weigh on the Fee, continues the advocacy coordinator at GHA.
Then there’s a change ” Essential ” within the vaccine technique of the European Fee, underlines for his half the Belgian MEP Marc Botenga, additionally a member of the particular committee on Covid.
“Ursula von der Leyen has deserted the thought of making the vaccine a typical good to maneuver in the direction of buying agreements with pharmaceutical firms”he mentioned in an interview with EURACTIV France.
70% of Europeans vaccinated in the summertime of 2021
In June 2020, the European Fee indicators contracts with pharmaceutical firms to ship doses of vaccines towards Covid-19 to Member States.
Higher often called the European vaccine technique, these joint purchases of vaccines have made it attainable to hurry up the manufacture of doses and assure equitable entry to vaccination for all European residents.
Whereas the vast majority of doses have been bought from Pfizer, 5 different laboratories have additionally obtained the inexperienced gentle from the European Medicines Company (EMA): Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Novavax and Valneva. It’s a success: the primary doses are administered on the finish of 2020 and by July 2021, 70% of adults within the EU had obtained at the very least one dose of vaccine.
However in keeping with the report of the 2 NGOs, confronted with the vaccine emergency, the Fee would have yielded to sure requests from pharmaceutical laboratories, together with the worth of vaccines, the transparency of contracts but in addition mental property. Gold, “the benefit of mental property is that pharmaceutical firms have a monopoly and may subsequently benefit from revenue”believes Marc Botenga.
Earlier than including: By leaving management of dose costs to pharmaceutical firms by means of mental property, there was a hold-up on our social safety”.
However that is not all. The report accuses “extreme affect” of Large Pharma on the European Fee, of getting probably hindered entry to the vaccine for populations in poor international locations. “With Large Pharma within the driver’s seat, selecting to comply with their non-public pursuits, entry to vaccines for low-income international locations has possible been denied,” says James Cole, Advocacy Supervisor at StopAids.
Pfizer and the SMS case
As an instance the load of the pharmaceutical foyer, the report takes for instance the contracts for the acquisition of vaccines between Pfizer and the European Fee.
These vaccine buy contracts between the American big and the European government are on the coronary heart of an argument: they’re redacted and subsequently illegible. The European Parliament, NGOs but in addition the EU ombudsman are calling for them to be made public.
Added to this are suspicions about textual content messages exchanged between the President of the European Fee Ursula von der Leyen and the CEO of Pfizer Albert Bourla, which relate to the negotiation of a contract for 1.8 billion doses of Covid vaccines.
“No one can negotiate the complexity of those contracts, by SMS or alone. It was a really nicely structured process between the Member States and the Fee”assured Fee Vice-President Margaritis Schinas on Wednesday 26 October.
“There’s an unhealthy relationship between the establishments and Pfizer. We need to know the affect of those SMS on the negotiation. Are sure particulars, equivalent to the worth, despatched by SMS? »solutions Marc Botenga.
Regardless of the success of vaccination in Europe, the Covid pandemic has highlighted the very robust affect of pharmaceutical firms with public authorities.
For larger transparency and to restrict this lobbying, StopAids and GHA advocate particularly that any future negotiations between the Fee and the pharmaceutical firms should be performed in a “utterly open and clear” and utilizing “established processes relatively than casual channels”.
Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna didn’t reply to requests from GHA and StopAids.