Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Jeff Hauser
hauser@cepr.net

Phone: (202) 588-1000

Press Release

Advocates to President Biden: Don’t Give Away New Publicly-Owned Coronavirus Vaccine Technology to Corporations

WASHINGTON -

Pan-coronavirus vaccine technology currently in development by the U.S. military must remain public and should be shared with the world, more than two dozen advocacy groups said in a letter sent to President Joe Biden today ahead of the White House Summit on the Future of COVID-19 Vaccines. Signatories include Public Citizen, Demand Progress Education Fund, RESULTS, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, and Revolving Door Project, a project of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

If successful, the vaccine under development at U.S. Army’s Walter Reed Institute of Research could fight not only the virus that causes COVID-19 but new coronaviruses. The letter cites how private, monopoly control over previous coronavirus vaccines funded with public money contributed to shortages, rationing, and excessive prices.

“It is crucial that we learn from earlier mistakes in managing publicly funded vaccine technology,” notes the letter. “There is no compelling reason to offer this technology on a monopoly basis to a corporation, and a profoundly compelling reason to make the technology as open and readily accessible as possible across the globe.”

The letter urges the Biden administration to:

  • Openly license the vaccine to qualified manufacturers on conditions ensuring fair pricing and equitable access;
  • Share vaccine technology, data, and know-how with the World Health Organization, including through the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP); and
  • Prepare to invest in government-owned production facilities.

“The first task in preparing for the future of COVID vaccines is learning from the calamitous past, including the failure to share vaccines early in the pandemic and equip the world against the virus,” said Peter Maybarduk, Access to Medicines program director at Public Citizen. “The White House has the power and responsibility to ensure publicly-developed COVID technologies are made available to everyone, everywhere.”

“Current production and distribution agreements have empowered corporations while limiting the promise of life-saving coronavirus vaccines,” said Timi Iwayemi, senior researcher for the Revolving Door Project. “Continuing down a path that restricts widespread manufacturing and distribution of COVID vaccines would lead to unnecessary deaths and easier opportunities for the virus to mutate.”

###

The Revolving Door Project (RDP), a project of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), scrutinizes executive branch appointees to ensure they use their office to serve the broad public interest, rather than to entrench corporate power or seek personal advancement.

###

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people – not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

$158,000 Cost for ALS Treatment Called 'A Poster Child' for Unjust Drug Pricing

"The price of the newly approved drug combination Relyvrio to treat ALS," said one critic, "is yet another clear and powerful example of unjustified high prices set by drug companies that ultimately exploit patients."

Jake Johnson ·


Biden Takes 'Important First Step' With AI Bill of Rights Blueprint

While many experts welcomed the White House proposal to ensure automated systems don't erode civil liberties, others lamented the voluntary nature of what one tech writer called the "toothless" plan.

Brett Wilkins ·


Kenyan President Says 'Wind and Solar Energy Can Power the Development of Africa'

"Rather than trudging in the fossil fuel footsteps of those who went before, we can leapfrog this dirty energy and embrace the benefits of clean power," argues William Ruto.

Kenny Stancil ·


The Onion Files 'Masterfully Written' Amicus Brief in Support of Jailed Parodist

"As the globe's premier parodists, The Onion's writers also have a self-serving interest in preventing political authorities from imprisoning humorists."

Brett Wilkins ·


Jayapal Accuses Democratic Leaders of Botching Stock Trading Ban

"This should have been a no-brainer," said the Washington Democrat.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo