"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced" - James Baldwin
Monday 23 November 2020
Fixing our Health - a hope. Fixing the Market - a certainty
and BioNTech have jointly announced that their COVID-19 vaccines had
90% efficacy in clinical trials. Similar announcements from the
Russian Sputnik V and Moderna vaccines followed.
Lancet reports that, “2020 has been a year of incredible scientific
achievement. In less than 12 months, researchers have developed
diagnostics, produced treatment protocols, and established the
efficacy of drugs and vaccines in controlled trials.”
the prospect of preventing illness and death, and avoiding the harm
and misery of restrictions, a cause for optimism?
remain uncertainties as to how the vaccines will affect the course of
the pandemic. How well will the vaccines work on older people or
those with underlying medical conditions? What is the duration of
protection and will boosters be needed?
and BioNTech have been joined by Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline
(GSK), Roche, Moderna, Concordia (Advanz Pharma), Actavis, Teva and
many other companies in attempts to develop vaccines and treatments.
have checked out the list of pharmaceutical companies involved and
can happily report there are no pest control businesses involved and
none with personal connections to Dominic Cummings or Michael Gove.
even if we feel secure about these companies medical competence, can
we be assured we will not have a repeat of the corrupt £ millions
handed out in Covid and PPE contracts?
comes down to the heartbeat of the capitalist system, whether it be
the sale of cat food or sleeping tablets. Money and profit.
BBC reports that Concordia “overcharged the NHS by millions for a
key thyroid treatment”. The Competitions and Marketing Authority
(CMA) have added that Concordia and Actavis “fixed the market for
years after a bribes scandal in Poland and Romania in 2012, GSK was
found guilty of paying bribes to doctors and hospitals to promote the
company's products in China. They were fined £300 million.
same year GSK paid $3 billion (£1.9 billion) in criminal and civil liabilities in
largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history and in
2016 the firm paid $15 million to US authorities to settle new
allegations of bribery.
have been accused of price rigging in their vitamin trade. In 2019 a
lawsuit was filed in the US by 44 states, claiming price fixing for
dozens of generic medicines. A total of 20 pharma companies were
cited in the lawsuit – including Teva and Pfizer – all accused of
‘multi-billion dollar fraud’.
some Covid-engaged companies have promised to limit profits from the
COVID-19 pandemic, Pfizer and the other companies I have referred to
above have made no such commitments.
A reader has commented - "Oxford/Astra Zeneca are part of Covax and ‘no profit’ is a fundamental part of their deal with the University. Their vaccine should be globally available at an affordable price."
Yes and let's hope their vaccine, assuming its viability, will be widely available. The corruption surrounding earlier Covid / PPE contracts and the neglect of the non-profits, the biggest being the NHS itself, does not suggest optimism.