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(en) Anarquista Socialismo Libertário OASL - Breach of vaccine patents: scientific knowledge cannot be privately owned! (ca, de, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Fri, 14 May 2021 10:04:51 +0300

With the increase in the number of deaths and contamination by Covid-19 in the country, there is a dangerous tendency, due to the urgency of the pandemic, to put aside several important questions about the dismantling of public health and the advancement of the international pharmaceutical industry. In the effort to formulate our policies, it is essential to keep alive the debate on the private property of scientific knowledge for the production of vaccines. We need to speak more emphatically about breaking patents. ---- In a context marked by the predatory competition between laboratories, for social apartheid in supply and with the vaccination campaign walking at an ant's pace, it is important that we think about this situation in a structural way, pointing to the construction of alternatives that break with this way of thinking medicine and health research. The starting point is to make it clear that any more rational and egalitarian proposal to conceive knowledge will be constantly attacked by capitalists, considering that the public interest clashes with the interest of the pharmaceutical industry's profits.

If, on the one hand, the Covid-19 pandemic crisis can put us in a situation of myopia caused by a sense of urgency, on the other hand it leaves the contradictions of the pharmaceutical industry naked and raw. It is a market in which huge profits are produced from disease and human suffering. The industry is a financial machine driven by the predatory logic of shareholders' greed and to the detriment of public health interest. The pandemic crisis, due to this logic, becomes a great business opportunity for laboratories, in which vaccines need to be defended against competition through patents, a record of technology that cannot be used by any other company. The profitability logic makes access to treatments difficult, causes scarcity and further aggravates the situation of barbarism.

The corporatist media, allied to at least doubtful characters, such as the former Minister of Health, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, now glorified in the logic of the least worst, defends private research in every way and criticizes the breaking of patents. It exalts the speed at which vaccines were produced, tested and brought to the market, in an unprecedented record, as if this were due to the innovation generated by competition between private laboratories. What these advocates do not say is that all of this innovation would not have been possible without the huge numbers of public resources injected directly into vaccines. Just as they forget to mention that science is built by a series of open researches until it reaches the final "product".

What they call innovation is a rhetorical maneuver to legitimize the logic of the deregulated financial system, which increasingly brings catastrophe to the working class in all sectors. In Brazil, public research progressively loses its budget, transferring these public health resources to companies in the logic of competition and profitability. In such a model, the focus is only on short-term profit, which plays a fundamental role for society, as they do not bring immediate resources to shareholders. For example, what is the interest of companies in financing epidemiological control before a pandemic breaks out?

Doria's opportunism and the dismantling of the Butantan Institute
One of the most infamous episodes of this pandemic was the media dispute between the governor of SP and President Bolsonaro regarding vaccination. The Butantan Institute has become a centerpiece in this macabre chess of the government, considering that, at least until the month of May, it is responsible for more than 80% of the vaccines applied in the country. This important role in this very difficult moment ends up erasing some issues, such as the process that has been underway for years of scrapping the institute's civil service, in benefit of the entity's new institutional demands, which is the partnership with private companies and the sale of products.

In 2019, Butantan requested a loan of R $ 1.8 billion from BNDES to invest in a modern production center, capable of placing it among the major manufacturers in the world. Choosing the Big Pharmas profit logic, Butantan stopped, for example, manufacturing BCG vaccines (given to newborns) and ImunoBCG, aimed at patients with bladder cancer, to focus on the production of the flu vaccine, seeing an expanding market there. In addition to supplying the Ministry of Health, the institute hoped at that time to offer millions of doses to the Northern Hemisphere.

Within the logic of current managers, the pandemic of covid-19 and the protagonism of the Butantan Institute, contrary to what may seem, accelerate the dismantling towards the constant privatization of its services. The centennial mission of the institute to research, develop, manufacture and supply products and services for the health of the population has been destroyed and replaced by the vision of the pharmaceutical industry, in which the main objective is profit at any cost - even if the result is counterproductive. public health.

Health is not a commodity, for health at the service of the population!
Still using the example of the Butantan Institute, the working conditions of health workers are increasingly precarious. On the part of civil servants and civil servants, those who rise up against this logic are repressed with administrative processes; in the segment of female workers and contracted workers, there is no possibility of questioning, due to the flexibility of the contracts. Another party is hired as a position of trust and without any public oversight, leaving the way for private interests without obstacles.

It is urgent that we organize ourselves against the health privatization system, which throws our lives in the hands of shareholders. The production of medicines must be socialized under public control. Investments must be directed in a transparent manner to the research and health of the population, and not obscurely to financial market agents who pretend to be scientists.

In this moment of crisis, there is an urgent need to break patents! Vaccines cannot be a luxury item for a minority of rich countries: they must be available to everyone, anywhere on the planet. Breaking patents and intellectual property rights is a decisive factor!




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