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Big Pharma calling the shots? VDL debates vaccines plan with MEPs

Today, European Commission President von der Leyen answered questions in the chamber of the European Parliament on the EU’s COVID-19 vaccine strategy.

Left MEPs emphasized the issues and problems around transparency and accountability that have come to the fore in recent weeks, calling for Parliament to establish a committee of inquiry into the vaccines fiasco.

For our Co-President Manon Aubry, Big Pharma has clearly been in charge and this is the root of the problem. She stressed in her speech to VDL that vaccines were created thanks to billions in public money, yet patents remain in the hands of big pharmaceutical corporations meaning governments cannot produce enough doses.

With just three of the contracts signed between the Commission and Big Pharma made public, Aubry raised the issue of transparency and the right of elected representatives, media and citizens to scrutinise the documents.

Brandishing a copy of a heavily redacted contract, she again questioned the Commission President on the issue of authority, suggesting the Commission had been pushed around by the private sector.

The imposition of strict restrictions on civil liberties over the past year was contrasted with the apparent powerlessness of authorities when it comes to effectively rolling out vaccines across the continent.

A Committee of Inquiry must be set up to look into the whole affair, establish what went wrong and hold those responsible to account, Aubry said.

 

Contributions from all our MEPs who took the floor in the debate are readable here on twitter and watchable here (scroll down the list on the right to click on the names of Left MEPs Manon Aubry, Marc Botenga, Katerina Konecná, Chris Macmanus, Petros Kokkalis, Silvia Modig, Giorgos Georgiou, and Marisa Matias for their speeches).

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