PRINCE Harry is accused of joining a crusade against big pharmaceutical companies “that would damage vaccine research”. The Duke of Sussex, 37, joined Pope Francis in calling for an international waiver of vaccine patents. Prince Harry has been outspoken about the need to break “pharma monopolies that prevent vaccines from getting to communities around the world in need”, journalist Andrew Orlowski notes.
Harry has joined activists urging for the activation of an emergency compulsory licensing mechanism built into the World Trade Organisation. However, investigative journalist Mr Orlowski, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said: “The Duke of Sussex has joined a pious crusade that would damage vaccine research.
Mr Orlowski suggests: “The problem with the high-status assault on intellectual property (IP) is that it fails to suggest a convincing alternative system to such rights, which today provide the incentives that deliver billions of investment to researchers.”
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism claimed to have found big pharmaceutical demands that led to a three-month delay in vaccine deals being agreed upon.
Their research, as noted by Mr Orlowski, suggested that “for Argentina and Brazil, no national deals were agreed at all”. Unfortunately, Mr Orlowski sees no alternative to the current intellectual (IP) property monopoly.
He added: “If the IP monopoly disappeared overnight, the poor wouldn’t be getting more jabs. “Most countries either don’t have the facilities to manufacture them, can’t distribute them safely to remote areas, or lack the skills to administer them, or all three.”
Speaking at a recent UNAIDS event on World Aids Day, Prince Harry said that vaccinating the world was a “test of our moral character”.
He added: “It’s time to draw from the lessons we learned throughout the HIV/Aids pandemic, where millions died unnecessarily due to deep inequities in access to treatment.
“Are we really comfortable repeating the failures of the past? “Everything I’ve learned from the youth of Sentebale, his charity in Lesotho and Botswana, tells me not. “They see how repeating these mistakes is destructive and self-defeating, it is a betrayal of the next generation.”
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