Let’s see, a silly question that has been around me for months, and that I never dare to ask so as not to feed hoaxes or give air to the denialists: the multinational pharmaceutical companies, those on whose vaccines our health and our economy depend today, are they the The same multinational pharmaceutical companies that we have been mistrusting and pestering for decades for their shady practices, repeatedly denounced and sometimes condemned for corruption, bribery, gifts to doctors, irregular clinical trials, pressure on governments and international institutions, financing of parties and candidates presidential elections that favor their interests, the plunder of natural resources and biological wealth from African countries, the opiate crisis in the United States, and a thousand and one unethical behavior, if not directly criminal?
I continue with my question, that I have to catch a breath: those multinational pharmaceutical companies whose vaccines today depend, etc., etc., are they by chance the same multinational pharmaceutical companies that have been leading user complaints and lawsuits for decades, all kinds of journalistic investigations and judicial proceedings, as well as hundreds of hilarious film thrillers in which intrepid journalists and honest doctors uncover their life-threatening mafia performances? Are we perhaps talking about the same manufacturers accused for more than half a century of dedicating resources to research according to which diseases based on their profitability, developing preferably chronic rather than curative treatments to ensure endless income, or making huge profits from our fears and anxieties? The same ones who, contrary to the belief that research progresses thanks to their effort, actually dedicate a small percentage of their profits to research while benefiting time and again from the public work of universities, research centers and hospitals throughout the world? planet, and huge amounts of public money?
Come on, calm me down a bit, take the shock out of my body: tell me no, they are not the same; that the pharmaceutical companies that today manufacture and supply our vaccines against coronavirus are not those of the two previous paragraphs; that they are others, more transparent, more ethical, more concerned with the welfare of humanity and less obsessed with profit at all costs.
I don’t even want to think that our health and our economy, that is, our lives and our future, were at the mercy of those rogues. I am convinced that our leaders, European and Spanish, would not allow it. And if they had no choice but to entrust themselves to those same manufacturers, I trust that they would not allow them to benefit from public money and public research without first ensuring a sufficient and equitable supply of vaccines, taking into account global health criteria rather than the law. From the market; and they would do it through transparent contracts, no confidential clauses or crossed-out paragraphs.
What’s more: even in the hypothetical case –improbable, I insist– that, due to force majeure –the urgency to get a vaccine against the clock–, our rulers had thrown themselves into the arms of those same pharmaceutical companies in the first two paragraphs, I bet that they would be implacable with any failure to supply or with the slightest suspicion of deviations from the production or auction of vaccines to the highest bidder, even going so far as to force them to share knowledge so that others can also manufacture.
Wait, I’m going one step further: in the unlikely, hypothetical and totally implausible case that all of the above had happened, and today we were totally at the mercy of a few pharmaceutical companies like those described in the first two paragraphs, and there would be no choice. To swallow and move on, I put my hand on the fire because our leaders and international organizations would already be preparing future reforms against the pharmaceutical oligopoly and even planning the creation of public pharmaceutical companies so that, since in this pandemic it has not been possible, we will not the same thing happens in the next one. More or less what happened to the banks when the crisis of 2008: then they had to be swallowed and rescued, because the world economy depended on their fall, but once the scare had passed, governments and international organizations became very serious and got on their way to the world bank, which since then has been accountable to the public and reverts its profits to the common good.
Forgive the vent, but I wanted to get rid of these doubts. That when they call me to get vaccinated, I don’t want to be worried about the side effects, neither those of the vaccine nor those derived from dealing with its manufacturers.
We talked about the access of countries with fewer resources to vaccination another day, and I am running out of page. And please, when you leave, turn off the Ironic Mode, that I have left it on.