Prioritising People Over Profit During COVID-19

August 31, 2020

According to a recent article by Doctors Without Borders Canada at least $1billion Canadian dollars of public money is being invested by the Canadian government into research and development of COVID-19 diagnostic tests, medicines, and vaccines. We as a nation should be proud of our contributions to this important global cause!

However, just because it is publicly funded does not necessarily mean that these innovations will be publicly offered. In fact, "publicly funded vaccines, medicines and health technologies are often sold to private companies, who then determine who receives access to them — and at what price" says Doctors Without Borders Canada.

This is particularly harmful given that COVID-19 is a global issue that disproportionately affects marginalised individuals and communities. In Canada, the Canadian Human Rights Commission stressed that "the rights and needs of these [more vulnerable] communities cannot be forgotten or ignored" as "this crisis is amplifying the challenges and disadvantages faced by people living on the margins of society". As such, we cannot allow publicly-funded innovations to not reach those who need it the most by making these innovations either inaccessible or unaffordable.

As Doctors Without Borders Canada puts it very simply: "public funds should be for public health, not private profits".

To tell the Canadian Minister of Health that you would like any final product of medical research and development that was funded through public money to be accessible and available for everyone who needs them - in Canada and around the world - sign the petition by clicking here!