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Press Release | September 24, 2021

Biden Administration’s Inaction on Vaccine Equity is Cowardly and Shameful

CoronavirusIntellectual Property
Biden Administration’s Inaction on Vaccine Equity is Cowardly and Shameful

The following statement is attributable to Jeff Hauser, Executive Director of the Revolving Door Project:

“Over four months after announcing its support for the COVID-19 TRIPS Waiver, the Biden administration’s once promising step towards achieving vaccine equity is proving to be little more than an empty promise. Officials across the administration are cowering in the face of Big Pharma’s insatiable appetite for profit rather than pursuing one of many paths to rapidly ensure equitable access to vaccines worldwide.”

“As the administration seeks praise for its vaccine charity — a strategy that leaves intact the pharmaceutical industry’s ability to limit supply and extract profit over the long-term — it is foregoing the meaningful solutions at its disposal. Overseas, the Biden team has not yet applied maximum pressure to the nations standing in the way of the TRIPS Waiver. Even worse, the United States is not yet supporting the proposal that is on the table as written. Here at home, the administration is shrinking from using the Defense Production Act and other means to compel information-sharing, citing unspecified and speculative fears of corporate judicial activism.”

“This behavior is cowardly and deadly. Every official responsible — and there are many with the power to act here — has blood on their hands. That very much includes Jeffrey Zients, whom we challenged to support the initial waiver and celebrated when he did so this spring. It is now time for Zients and the entire Biden Administration to validate the applause they received in May for announcing a commitment to do the right thing regardless of the interests of Big Pharma generally or Steve Ricchetti’s Pharma lobbyist brother specifically.”

To read more from Revolving Door Project on vaccine equity and the influence of Big Pharma on the executive branch, read The Industry Agenda: Big Pharma by Timi Iwayemi and Fatou Ndiaye, as well as all of our 2021 work on the subject.

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Image: “Syringe and Vaccine” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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