A campaign organization revealed that Covid vaccine profits have helped at least nine people become billionaires, calling for an end to pharmaceutical companies’ “monopoly grip” over vaccine science.
The People’s Vaccine Alliance said in a statement that the nine new billionaires have a total net worth of $19.3 billion (15.8 billion euros), which is enough to fully vaccinate all people in low-income nations 1.3 times.
The estimates were based on Forbes Rich List data, according to the alliance, which is a network of groups and individuals advocating for an end to property rights and patents for inoculations.
“These billionaires are the human face of the tremendous profits several pharmaceutical businesses are generating from their stranglehold on these vaccines,” said Anna Marriott of the alliance’s member charity Oxfam.
In addition to the new mega-rich, the vaccination rollout has increased the fortune of eight existing billionaires by $32.2 billion, according to the alliance.
The CEO of Moderna, Stephane Bancel, and his BioNTech colleague, Ugur Sahin, topped the list of new vaccine billionaires.
CanSino Biologics, a Chinese vaccine company, was founded by three additional neobillionaires.
The findings come prior of the G20 Global Health Summit on Friday, which has become a rallying point for proposals to lift intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines for the time being.
Proponents argue that doing so would enhance productivity in poor countries, while also addressing significant access disparities.
Pope Francis and world leaders call to waive Covid vaccine patents
The US, as well as significant personalities such as Pope Francis, wants a global waiver of patent rights.
On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron urged for the removal of “all these intellectual property restraints that prevent the manufacture of specific types of vaccinations” at a Paris summit aimed at increasing funding in Africa in the face of the pandemic.
“It is completely repulsive… to put the interests of the billionaire owners of Big Pharma ahead of the desperate needs of millions,” she added, noting that thousands of people die every day in India.