Tony Lloyd said, ‘We have, as a nation, an incentive to see the whole world vaccinated. It would be a tragedy if we vaccinated the whole of our country simply to see mutations develop elsewhere that wiped out that effort. In any case, common humanity says we can do better.’
The Rochdale MP is demanding that the Government steps in to stop pharmaceutical companies, who received UK public sector support to develop the Covid-19 vaccine, from making profits at the expense of the poorest countries during the pandemic.
Tony said, ‘Differential pricing gravitates against that ambition. Uganda, for example, has a deal with AstraZeneca at a price of $7 a dose for the Covid-19 vaccination which is more than three times the price paid by the European Union.
‘Similarly the Serum Institute in India, which produces the AstraZeneca vaccine under licence, is charging $3 a dose in India and $5 in South Africa.
‘I raised this with the Vaccines Minister who told me that decisions on pricing by pharmaceutical companies are commercial ones and not a question for government.
‘This differential pricing is perverse, and asks the poorest countries to pay more than the richest.
‘It also undermines what the UK Government is trying to achieve through its support of COVAX.’
Writing to the Prime Minister, Tony points out that ‘AstraZeneca has received UK public sector support to develop the Covid vaccination and most of us would think it is an abuse if AstraZeneca and other providers make excess profits at the expense of the poorest countries anyway and especially given UK public financial support.’
Tony has tabled Early Day Motion (EDM), which has received cross-party support, calling on the ‘UK Government to ensure pharmaceutical companies revisit their differential pricing policies, and commit to not making a profit from the pandemic.’ The EDM also states that ‘the UK has both a moral and practical incentive to see the whole world vaccinated against Covid-19’ and raises concern ‘that pharmaceutical companies which have received UK public financial support are making profits at the expense of the poorest countries.’
• Tony’s EDM, and the list of supporting cross-party MPs, can be viewed here: https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/58208
• Tony’s written question on pharmaceutical differential pricing policies, and the Minister’s response, can be read here: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-02-11/153126/