On Universal Health Coverage Day, the Left in the European Parliament lends its full backing to the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) Right to Cure, which aims to make anti-pandemic treatments and cures a global public good, freely accessible to everyone.

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the extent to which pharmaceutical companies limit access to lifesaving medicines and profit from the public health crisis, while benefiting from billions of euros in public subsidies without having to forgo intellectual property rights. It also pointed at the urgent need for greater investment in public health systems and the need for protections against privatisation of our healthcare.

Last June, Left parties from across the EU had launched the right2cure.eu petition, which served as precursor to the ECI Right to Cure. If successful in gathering one million signatures within a year, the Commission is compelled to answer to the demands with a formal list of actions and a timeline for implementation.

Citizens are being made to pay for a Covid-19 vaccine many times over, says MEP Marc Botenga (PTB, Belgium):

“Public funds, meaning taxpayers, have paid for the research, the development and the production of the future vaccines against Covid-19. Moreover, public authorities will have to shoulder some of the financial liability in case of hidden defects. And yet the vaccines are to become the private property of some pharmaceutical multinationals? This way, we would pay four or five times for the vaccine.That makes no sense.

“Allowing multinational pharmaceutical corporations to decide how much we pay for our health is a robbery of our public finances and social security. Moreover, no company has the ability to produce enough vaccines for all. Giving one or a few companies a monopoly on the vaccine means that not everybody will receive protection. Yet, we all deserve protection from this pandemic. No one is safe until we are all safe.

“I believe that a future safe vaccine against Covid-19 should be accessible and available to all. That is why the European Commission was right to promise that any future vaccine against Covid-19 would become a common good. However, it now seems to be walking back on this promise.

“Therefore, I fully support the European Citizens’ Initiative Right to Cure. Let’s make the European Commission keep its promise.”

Kateřina Konečná (KSČM, Czechia) criticised the Commission for lack of transparency with the contracts it has granted pharmaceutical companies for vaccines’ supply:

“It is very concerning that the Commission has not published details of the multi-million euro contracts it has signed with big pharmaceutical companies for the supply of Covid-19 vaccines or the costs taxpayers will have to bear despite the huge amount of public money that has gone into R&D.

“We have already paid for the Covid-19 vaccine and we should not be forced to do the same again. European citizens are bearing the brunt of the pandemic while contributing immensely to the functioning of our societies with their work and taxes. They contributed to the discovery of the Covid-19 vaccine, this was a collective effort, and this must be recognised above the narrow profit-driven interests of corporations.

“Now that there is a cure, there is hope, also because of us. We need the Commission to legislate to safeguard our public systems and guarantee access to free treatments and cures for all in this pandemic and in future health crisis.

“Please support the Right2Cure European Citizens’ Initiative, helping to mobilise one million signatures to curb the dominance Big Pharma has on our health and lives. This is the moment to stand for our future and the generations to come,” Konečná concluded.

Register your support for the European Citizens’ Initiative Right to Health: https://noprofitonpandemic.eu/

Related Meps

Marc Botenga

Parti du Travail de Belgique / Partij van de Arbeid van België

Healthcare and medical products & International solidarity & Vaccine Equality ·

Parliament votes through positive compulsory licensing rules, but global solidarity lacking

Right to health & Vaccine Equality ·

European Parliament’s Covid-19 report - a whitewashing exercise

Feminism & Healthcare and medical products ·

Repeal the 8th: Five years on