Revealed: UK government opposing patent-free Covid-19 vaccines

15 May 2020 — Global Justice Now

Last night BBC Newsnight revealed how the British government has been opposing patent-free coronavirus vaccines and treatments in the run up to a crucial World Health Organisation meeting on Monday. Despite government pledges to ensure vaccines are accessible to all, they are still not willing to take on big pharma and challenge their monopolies.

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We have been working behind the scenes with our allies to ensure that our campaign messages were featured on Newsnight. The coverage shows that the campaign for patent-free vaccines is breaking into mainstream media. Yesterday, over 100 leaders including former prime ministers of Britain and New Zealand, as well as the current presidents of South Africa, Senegal and Ghana, made an open call for patent-free vaccines.The campaign is really building momentum and so we need to seize this opportunity to continue building wider grassroots support. We must build pressure on the government to attach conditions on public funding to ensure that any vaccine is patent-free.

While pharmaceutical corporations have made promises to keep vaccines ‘affordable’, we know that they have no intention of giving up patents which they will use to make eye-watering profits from these vaccines for many years to come.

Preventing big pharma patents is crucial to ensuring that Covid-19 vaccines are affordable to all countries and free to the public.

Help us spread the word about the campaign by sharing last night’s Newsnight report.

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Thank you for your continued support

Best wishes
Heidi Chow

Campaigner at Global Justice Now


[1] Open letter: Uniting Behind A People’s Vaccine Against Covid-19, 14 May 2020,

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