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Big Pharma greed

The People's Vaccine Alliance is mobilizing to condemn pharmaceutical companies for failing to share their Covid-19 vaccine and treatment recipes with low- and middle-income countries, as Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson host their annual general meetings. (Photo: The People's Vaccine/Twitter)

'Liquid Gold, Mate!': Activists' Spoof on Big Pharma's Vaccine Greed Nails It

The satirical video's release coincides with a new People's Vaccine Alliance campaign targeting Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson during their annual general meetings.

Brett Wilkins

Noting that "pharmaceutical companies are making billions, while billions go unvaccinated," the advocacy group People's Vaccine Alliance on Wednesday published a parody video lampooning Big Pharma's greed and profiteering from a pandemic that's now claimed more than six million lives.

"Liquid gold, mate! We're making a thousand bucks' profit a second," the satirical Big Pharma executive—played by British artist Jolyon Rubinstein—gushes in a phone call, presumably with a colleague. "Omicron was a total money-spinner, but apparently the new variant is even more transmissible!"

In another call, he informs a potential buyer, "I'm afraid the price per dose has doubled... It's a demand thing."

"My hands are tied," he says before hanging up the phone and then exclaiming, "In golden handcuffs!"

In another "call" with Joe Biden, Rubinstein's character pans the U.S. president's endorsement of an Indian and South African proposal to temporarily waive some intellectual property protections on Covid-19 vaccines, asking, "You've gone off that crazy patent-lifting idea, yeah?"

The video's release coincides with a new People's Vaccine Alliance campaign targeting pharma giants Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson during their annual general meetings in New York and London.

"These vaccines were created with unprecedented public funding to deal with an unprecedented global threat to humanity. They should not be private property—they are the people's vaccines," asserted People's Vaccine Alliance policy adviser Julia Kosgei.

"There are manufacturers ready to make vaccines and treatments in the Global South," she added. "But first, world leaders must suspend intellectual property rules and pharmaceutical companies must transfer the technology to make Covid-19 vaccines and treatments."

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