Vaccines against COVID-19 have enabled at least nine people to become billionaires, including the French CEO of Moderna Stéphane Bancel, the non-governmental organization Oxfam said on Thursday, and that their cumulative wealth will allow the poorest countries to be vaccinated.
In a statement issued ahead of the G20 World Health Summit on Friday in Rome, Oxfam said that these new fortunes have emerged “thanks to the amazing profits of the pharmaceutical groups that have a monopoly on producing vaccines against COVID-19”.
These numbers are based on the classification of the American magazine Forbes and are published by the “People Vaccine Alliance”, of which Oxfam is a part, and which brings together organizations and personalities calling for free vaccines against COVID-19 around the world.
The cumulative wealth of the nine billionaires mentioned, $ 19.3 billion, “will allow all low-income countries to be vaccinated 1.3 times,” which “have received only 0.2% of the vaccines produced in the world. Lack of available doses,” according to Oxfam.
The first two fortunes, which stand out from the crowd, are held by Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel ($ 4.3 billion) and CEO and co-founder of BioNTech Ugur Sahin ($ 4 billion).
The statement added that eight other billionaires, with “large equity portfolios” in pharmaceutical companies, saw a cumulative increase in their assets of up to $ 32.2 billion, “which is enough to immunize the entire Indian population.”
“These vaccines have been funded from public funds and must above all be a global public good,” Sandra Lot-Fernandez of Oxfam France said in a press release, calling in the press release to “put an urgent end to these monopolies.”
The European Commission confirmed on Wednesday that the European Union will be a “builder” at the World Trade Organization to assess the raising of patents for COVID-19 vaccines, which Washington wants, but will first propose measures to rapidly increase production.
On the previous day, African countries, European countries and other continents as well as international organizations present at a summit on African economies organized in Paris demanded that patents be raised against COVID-19 vaccines, to allow their production in Africa.
But “key members of the G20, including the United Kingdom and Germany, continue to block initiatives aimed at removing intellectual property barriers” on vaccines, denounced Oxfam, which also points to France’s “ambiguous position” on the subject.