Big Pharma, one of the most lucrative industries in the world, does not usually give priority to vaccine development, as it is financially risky and other drugs are more profitable.
The public spends billions to help with the research and development of commercial drugs, but usually only a fraction of this amount goes to fund vaccine development.
The Coronavirus has turned the tables: The stepchild of the drug industry now gets full attention – and huge public funding.
The reporters of Investigate Europe followed the public money spent on the hunt for a Covid-19 vaccine and found that most of these grants and loans are given without the necessary conditions to ensure global supply and a fair access. If too little is done to prevent “vaccine nationalism,” in the end the public will pay the price.
Read our reports below and scroll down to read articles published in media partner outlets across Europe.
In the rush to find a vaccine, history repeats itself
There have been historic attempts to secure Covid-19 vaccines for all who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. Recent announcements by pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer and Moderna — about successful trials and high effectiveness rates — have led to stronger financial markets and more hope for a Covid-free future. Why, then, does it again look like rich countries will get vaccines and the poor will have to wait in line? Read the full report by Ingeborg Eliasson and Wojciech Cieśla.
Business interests vs vaccine idealism
Ingeborg Eliasson traces the genesis of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). The organisation, which came into existence at Davos in 2017, aims to make the distribution of vaccines more equitable. However, even before the Covid-19 pandemic shook the world in 2020, CEPI witnessed the divergent interests of Big Pharma and vaccine idealists.
Covid Vaccine: All in this Together?
The future development of a Covid-19 vaccine opens up divergent pathways for governments across Europe and the world. If a vaccine can be found, will competition or coordination prevail? Will the needs of the global population take precedence over the demands of the market? Or will vaccine nationalism displace fair distribution?