A reasonable description of someone playing politics with hundreds of millions of lives would be toad. Even, little toad. Which is the observation we might want to make about Nick Dearden, of Global Justice Now, here:
The charity Global Justice Now called the UK’s donations “a PR gimmick” that will allow the G7 to ignore the structural problem of intellectual property rules driving vaccine supply shortages.
It praised Biden and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, for supporting an intellectual property waiver.
Nick Dearden, the charity’s director, said: “Boris Johnson’s lofty promises to vaccinate the world have today been wiped out like a surfer in Carbis Bay.
“The UK has bought 500m vaccine doses; well beyond what we need. And yet today we’re only offering to give 100m doses to the rest of the world – and only by the middle of next year. It’s little more than a PR gimmick.
“Intellectual property rules are restricting vaccine production to the supply chains of a handful of companies. This weekend, Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel can finally step up to the plate, follow Biden’s lead, and clear away these barriers, so we can vaccinate the whole world.”
The problem is not in fact the intellectual property rules. Reality here is that every factory in the world – OK, maybe not in North Korea but….. – that is capable of manufacturing one or other of these vaccines is in fact manufacturing one or other of these vaccines. It is not a patent problem, it’s a skill and equipment problem.
We can indeed show this too. The Russian Sputnik Vaccine is not covered by any of those western world patents:
Russia is having, as this newspaper reports, considerable problems in producing the Sputnik V vaccine.
There is a global campaign to insist that all patents on all vaccines must be waived, invalidated even.
The first point shows why the second is irrelevant to beating Covid-19.
But then that is not what that second point is about anyway. Rather, there are still those out there who want to smash capitalism and yes, they will use any circumstance to do so.
As the report on the Russian problems goes there are significant difficulties in producing a vaccine. The new factory has to be constructed, the bioreactors tried out and then run in production runs.
The staff have to be found and trained. It’s necessary to assemble the supply chain – 150 different ingredients are not unusual in these new vaccines – and even then there is no guarantee that each reactor full of vaccine will actually be the correct stuff.
And here is the thing – there are no patent problems here at all.
This is a Russian developed vaccine, it is their own intellectual property.
Making stuff for the first time is hard. This is why we have IP in the first place of course. But even when IP isn’t the problem it is still true that making stuff for the first time is hard. Which is what the problem over vaccine supply is, not the IP, but the difficulty of manufacturing.
This doesn’t interest Nick Dearden because that’s not what he’s interested in. Instead he wants to overthrow capitalism:
This is the battle that is actually being fought, using Covid-19 as an excuse.
If the political activists can convince that, in these special circumstances, drug patents should be violated then it becomes much easier to make the same argument again and again.
Until there is their desired world in which there is no intellectual property – and therefore no one creates anything new that can be copied.
Dearden is using the coronavirus vaccines to play politics. To overturn the very idea of intellectual property, of patents upon drugs. He’s using the deaths of millions to play politics. Ghastly little toad that he is.