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Reaction to Pfizer Voluntary Licensing of COVID-19 Antiviral Treatment

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In reaction to Pfizer’s announcement of voluntary licenses of the COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment Paxlovid to the Medicines Patent Pool, People’s Vaccine Alliance spokesperson and Oxfam America’s Senior Advocacy Advisor, Robbie Silverman, made the following statement:

“Pfizer’s announcement to voluntarily licence the COVID treatment Paxlovid is welcome but is far from enough. It means billions of people in developing countries will be able to access the treatment through generic production, but billions of people will still be left without as the deal excludes many developing countries like Iraq and Lebanon.

“This move also begs the important question: If Pfizer can share data and intellectual property on a medicine, why have they so far categorically refused to do so for their COVID vaccine? Perhaps the answer is in the profit they continue to reap thanks to their monopoly, hundreds of dollars every single second.

“Today’s licensing agreement shows that Pfizer is feeling the pressure from global campaigners. But it is clear that relying on the voluntary actions of pharmaceutical companies alone will not secure urgently needed access to tests, medicines and vaccines for everyone, everywhere. Only concerted action by governments to force them to share technology, know-how, and intellectual property will achieve this.

“All governments must move to immediately support the proposal of South Africa and India at the World Trade Organisation for a temporary waiver on all COVID-19 medical technologies and they must also insist on the mandatory transfer of vaccine technology to the many competent manufacturers all over the developing world who stand ready to produce the vaccines.”

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