Billionaire Bill Gates last weekend used an appearance on Britain’s Sky News to explain why the various recipes for vaccines currently held by drug companies should not, in fact, be shared so that production and distribution can increase.
Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has told Sky News he remains hopeful the world will be “completely back to normal” by the end of 2022, as excess COVID-19 vaccines become available.
The monopolistic billionaire has been very outspoken about how the world should combat the Covid-19 pandemic since it began last March.
“We won’t have eradicated this disease, but we’ll be able to bring it down to very small numbers by the end of 2022,” Gates said in the interview.”
The global feud over drug company patents for COVID-19 vaccines is the latest skirmish in the irrepressible conflict between property rights and human rights.
It’s no surprise that Bill Gates, the monopolist billionaire, has taken the side of patents.
“Well, there’s only so many vaccine factories in the world. And people are very serious about the safety of vaccines,” he said.
“And so moving something that had never been done – moving a vaccine from say a J&J factory into a factory in India – it’s novel. It’s only because of our grants and our expertise that that can happen at all. The thing that’s holding things back in this case is not intellectual property.
“There’s not like some idle vaccine factory with regulatory approval that makes magically safe vaccines. You know you’ve got to do the trials on these things, and every manufacturing process has to be looked at in a very careful way.”
The 65-year-old also insisted preparing for future pandemics was “a top priority” and expressed concern it would be forgotten about as it was in the wake of the Ebola outbreak.
However, due to the devastating global economic and human cost of the pandemic believed “that this generation will remember this”.
Mr. Gates also noted the fact rich countries had prioritised themselves for vaccines was “not completely surprising”.
“Typically in global health, it takes a decade between when a vaccine comes into the rich world and when it gets to the poor countries,” Gates told Sky News.
But Gates said vaccine allocations to other countries will happen quicker.
Drug companies, after all, would stand to lose billions if their formulae were shared and supply increased, which is the main reason they’re currently resisting efforts to amend the world’s strict intellectual property regime so that vaccine production and distribution can expand.
Notwithstanding this greed, COVID-19 has been an unprecedented PR coup for pharmaceutical giants, whose apologists have issued a predictable smoke screen of self-interested bad arguments to justify patent hoarding.
Gates, who incidentally owes much of his own fortune to monopolistic intellectual property laws, has been more than a passive actor in the pandemic — having, among other things, convinced Oxford University to renege on its original promise of a no-patent vaccine and partner with the profit-driven AstraZeneca instead.