Can't connect right now! retry
world
Sunday Jul 12 2020
By
Reuters

Bill Gates against eventual COVID-19 meds to be given to 'highest bidder'

By
Reuters
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, speaks during a discussion on innovation hosted by Reuters in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2016. REUTERS

Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates said Saturday that the eventual COVID-19 vaccines and medicines should go to people and places that need them most, instead of to the 'highest bidder' due to market-driven forces. 

"If we just let drugs and vaccines go to the highest bidder, instead of to the people and the places where they are most needed, we’ll have a longer, more unjust, deadlier pandemic,” Gates said in a video released during a virtual COVID-19 conference organized by the International AIDS Society.

“We need leaders to make these hard decisions about distributing based on equity, not just on market-driven factors.”

With hundreds of vaccine projects under way and governments in Europe and the United States investing billions of dollars in research, trials and manufacturing, there is concern that richer nations could scoop up promising medicines against the new coronavirus, leaving developing countries empty-handed.

The European Commission and the World Health Organization have warned of an unhealthy competition in the scramble for a medicine seen as key to saving lives and resolving economic chaos sowed by virus, while some officials in Washington have indicated they would seek to prioritize U.S residents.

Gates said efforts begun two decades ago to battle the global HIV/AIDS crisis, when countries came together to eventually make medicines available in most of the world including Africa, can serve as a model for making COVID-19 medicines widely accessible. 

As examples he pointed to the 2002-created Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the U.S.-based President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief to get medicines to people to combat some of the world’s deadliest diseases as examples.

“One of the best lessons in the fight against HIV/AIDS is the importance of building this large, fair global distribution system to get the drugs out to everyone,” Gates said.