…Big Pharma on COVID-19
Your Eyewitness tries to ensure his glasses aren’t too rose-coloured and then cleans them religiously so his vision isn’t too blurred. This is critical nowadays with all the fake and slanted news bombardment which you can’t escape even if you live under a rock. So take the refusal of US Big Pharma digging in its heels against Biden’s suggestion that they temporarily relax their patents, etc. This would’ve allowed other companies – especially in the poorer countries – to manufacture their vaccines and head off the viral tsunami that’s devastating countries like India and Brazil. Which makes it certain to circle back home.
Your Eyewitness understands it takes big bucks to fund the research for the products these companies bring to market. So he accepts that the operative word is “market” – as in selling the pharmaceuticals based on supply and demand for a profit – even though they’re meant to save lives. The profits are the incentive to continue being innovative to come up with more Pharma to save more lives. Like say, against cancer.
But this model of the market, like all models, are meant to be a generalised approach to address our everyday world. And even then, there have been complaints about the ethics of making money on the suffering of others. This was addressed by asserting that Big Pharma was ultimately saving lives that would have been gone if they weren’t around. Greater good for the greater number and all that.
But today the world is caught up with a medical threat posed by COVID-19 that threatens our entire civilisation – including Big Pharma. We’ve found out that (unfortunately) there are no national barriers since the virus spread from some lab in Wuhan, China – a pretty closed society and yet engulfed the world. So you’d think Big Pharma would’ve been a bit more expansive in this fight to save the world. Especially when its biggest claim for exclusivity – paying for all that up-front research – just ain’t true. With money up front, the US Govt shelled out more than US$20 billion!
The Government invested extensively in every aspect of the basic science, preclinical development, and clinical trials for the vaccines; it executed procurement contracts that were critical to creating successful vaccines and ensuring they were available to the US public. They essentially removed the bulk of traditional industry risks related to vaccine development: a) scientific failures, b) failures to demonstrate safety and efficacy, c) manufacturing risks; and d) market risks related to low demand.
Pfizer alone has already made more than US$3.5 billion in profits in just the first three months!! The President of Moderna is already worth US$5 billion!
How much “incentive” is enough?
… the PNC on mangrove
On cue, the PNC has jumped on the Mangrove Bandwagon after some folks objected to the shore-base developer at Versailles cutting down some mangrove trees. The owner has already indicated that he’ll be constructing more-than-adequate steel and concrete walls to protect the area from flooding even more effectively than with mangrove. Your Eyewitness had supported the suggestion by environmentalist Annette Arjune that the developer be required to replace the equivalent number of mangrove trees removed, at some other location. Like the Mahaica foreshore that’s being regularly inundated.
But the PNC’s opportunism and cynicism are revealed in one simple factoid: when they doled out shore lands to various and sundry party supporters at Bohemia (Corentyne, Berbice), at Drill Mahaicony, adjoining West Bank Facade on the Demerara River, and on the Essequibo River for shore bases and landing the gas-to-shore pipeline, weren’t Mangrove Trees going to be cut down??
Hypocrisy, hypocrisy everywhere and not a drop of shame! But that’s the PNC!
…Middle East Politics
After the Al Jazeera office that also housed several other news agencies in Gaza was bombed by Israel, the Western Media took on a whole new perspective.
Guess the bombs opened up their eyes? Journalists’ lives matter?