AstraZeneca will now start charging for its covid-19 vaccine, abandoning the non-profit model it adopted at the start of the pandemic. The jab was 97% publicly funded.

AstraZeneca said it would keep the non-profit model until the pandemic was over. It is not over.

When anyone would the role of the Gates Foundation in ensuring its IP wasn’t freely shared, this was a detail people pointed to to say it was okay. Clearly it wasn’t.

@emacsomancer This makes me so fucking mad I want to cry from frustration..

@emacsomancer fuck. I am unsurprised though. But that makes me super angry. What can be done about this?

@greyor I think one of the issues is being able to see the harms the Gates Foundation has caused more generally. The popular perception is "lovable billionaire cares about the world and spends billions of personal fortune to cure diseases and remove suffering".

The reality is that the Gates Foundation is a lever that Bill Gates himself has used to be able to set national health policies (and other types of polices) in numerous nations (the Gates Foundation often has equal or greater say than the WHO), including even tiny little nations few people have ever heard of like the United Kingdom.

And the Gates Foundation manoeuvring is generally tied directly to embedding into nation-level policies private corporations that Gates owns significant percentages of shares in. (E.g. Monsanto.)

And the Gates Foundation has also been very clever in giving grants to media organisations in order to ensure friendly reporting.

It's all really frustrating. The most impactful things that can be done, I think, are trying to increase media coverage of the realities and talking openly about it.

And there are issues here which intersect not only with issues of racism and exploitation, but also just general global public health.

To wit, Oxford Uni's vaccine was originally supposed to be open and freely available for countries around the world to be able to produce. The Gates Foundation (racist) argument was essentially that "poor" (non-white) countries wouldn't be able to properly implement vaccine production and that it had to be done "properly" under the aegis of a private corporation (ironically, or not, AstraZeneca subsequently flubbed vaccine production numerous times).

But not only is the ultimate effect of this to limit vaccine availability in "poor countries", and thus lead to greater numbers of deaths there (in millions), but this very situation leads to the conditions which promote the mutation and creation of new, more vaccine-resistant, variants. Which inevitably will make their way into "rich" countries as well, causing increased fatalities even in the Global North.

@emacsomancer Yeah, they have worked really hard to burnish that image. Hated Windows for a long time, but Gates always seemed like a standup guy to me.

Yeah, that is a shitty racist argument, and yeah, I remember AstraZeneca really fucked things up.

I would have liked to see an "open-source" version. If it's all been done at public expense, why not share it with everyone? If you're about the Greater Good, this is it.

Thank you for this. I'll see if ProPublica has a deep dive into all this.

@emacsomancer @greyor i love how this argument:

> The Gates Foundation (racist) argument was essentially that "poor" (non-white) countries wouldn't be able to properly implement vaccine production and that it had to be done "properly" under the aegis of a private corporation

completely sidesteps the fact that 40% of the world's pharmaceuticals are produced in India

@greyor @emacsomancer modern capitalism wouldn't be possible without globalisation and globalisation is just imperialism / colonisation, where the violent inequality is held up by WTO and "free" trade deals just as much as by the CIA.

@meena @emacsomancer I hear you there. I don't know enough on the matter really to speak on it, but I always thought "globalisation" was a good thing (given how hard some factions rail against it). Definitely anticapitalist myself. Trade and economics are something I really don't know much about though; I am kind of an idealist when it comes to those things and I often don't understand why economics are as broken are they are.

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