Friday, April 23, 2021

“Catastrophe”. 80 Portuguese personalities ask for patent break to increase vaccine production – ZAP

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Rungroj Yongrit / EPA

More than 80 personalities of Portuguese society launched this Thursday a public appeal for vaccines against covid-19 to be considered a good of common interest and for Europe not to subject this process to market laws.

In the manifest to which the Lusa had access – which has the former president of Infarmed, Jose Aranda da Silva, as the main driver and underwriters as diverse as the former candidates for the Presidency of the Republic Ana Gomes e Marisa Matias, the former Director-General of Health, Constantino Sakellarides, or the bishop Januário Torgal Ferreira – warns of the urgent need to increase the speed of the vaccination process at European level.

“It is incomprehensible the lack of vaccines observed today in Portugal and in Europe, which placed European citizens in a position of subordination in relation to vaccine producers. The arguments put forward by the European Commission regarding the nature of the contracts, the existing production capacity and the agreed prices are not acceptable ”, says the appeal.

Marking the nearly three million deaths due to covid-19, this initiative requires a different stance from the European Commission to “demonstrate fully and definitively its ability to overcome financial and industrial interests”With pharmaceutical companies, in addition to recalling the legal possibilities available to community institutions.

“In cases typified as a catastrophe, European and national legislation allows Member States to invoke“ reasons of public interest ”and“ paramount importance for public health or national defense ”to adopt measures that require the production of vaccines in places other than the factories holding the patent“, Can be read in the note.

Subscribers to the message also fail to make clear the role of Portugal in this international process, due to the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU) in the first half of 2021, noting that “it is urgent that Portuguese citizens take a firm stand on a matter so significant for the present and future of Europeans ”.

“In the face of the catastrophe that we are experiencing, and in view of the tragic insufficiency of the European response, citizens are calling for urgent measures to be taken that are capable of protecting the health of the people. These measures require the transparent sharing information, the use of legislation that was envisaged for catastrophe situations and the mobilization of resources and productive capacities“, Still defends the appeal.

Thus, these Portuguese personalities reiterate that “now is the time for the European Commission to publish the vaccine production sites existing in the Union” and to “invoke the European legislation on industrial property to allow production in factories of different laboratories”, in the sense to ensure that the population is vaccinated by summer.

The covid-19 pandemic caused at least 2,874,984 deaths worldwide, resulting from more than 132.3 million cases of infection, according to a report made by the French agency AFP. In Portugal, 16,890 people died from 825,031 confirmed cases of infection, according to the most recent bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

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