Governments paid billions to help develop COVID-19 vaccines — so why is Big Pharma charging us billions more for the vaccines we helped create?

Posted on June 3, 2021 in Policy Context

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If we think of war profiteers as being lower than a snake’s belly, what are we to make of the drug industry’s pandemic profiteers? … Canada, like other government funders in this global crisis, is not expecting to recover its costs in funding COVID-related medicine…  governments that fund research that is used in lucrative commercial drug production must demand a return on their investment. 

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Child & Family

Child care is an integral part of our post-pandemic recovery. Let’s go big and act now

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Provinces will need to meet two tests of credibility in response to the federal offer. The first is one of commitment… because previous efforts haven’t built an accessible system, new commitments need to be significant… The other test is one of detail, of viability. Does the plan actually build up a high-quality, accessible child-care system in the province, led by well-trained and well-paid workers?


Bill 251 puts everyone in Ontario at risk of being unduly policed. This is not just a privacy and profiling issue for some — it is a human rights issue for all

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Bill 251 empowers police to continue their problematic legacy of conflating sex work and human trafficking… Bill 251 would insidiously enshrine a bloated law enforcement model that — true to this Ontario government — deflects attention and resources away from real, sustainable solutions that tackle poverty, precarious immigration status and lack of access to affordable housing, health and social services and labour protections.


Education

Subjects of the New Corporate University: The Sabotage of Laurentian University

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Fully half of the university’s programs, developed over 61 years, were eliminated… Laurentian University’s administration won an insolvency court’s permission to restructure the university in order to close less “popular” programs, in the name of achieving financial solvency… three of Canada’s ‘Big Six’ banks – RBC, TD-Canada Trust, and Bank of Montreal – have a vote on a restructured university plan, but faculty (no mention of the phrase ‘collegial governance’ has been hinted at) and students have no voice, no vote, and won’t be consulted in any genuine way.


Laurentian’s vision has been betrayed and destroyed

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Laurentian University is not simply a corporate entity, modelled on the worst aspects of private enterprise… I urge all those who have created the Laurentian community to peel back the rhetoric of false promises offered by current deceitful leadership. A theft is occurring — stealing opportunities, historic relationships and the building of knowledge. Now let us stand together to protect and advance the vision and achievements of a university that served its community with honour and pride.


Employment

Do pandemic income supports encourage people to stay off work? Of course — and that could be a good thing

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… this could really shake up capitalism for the better. How? If workers choose to stay in bed, employers might (rationally) choose to entice them back with higher wages… Higher pay though would also narrow the equality gap… People just don’t like bed that much. In fact, they like work, especially if it involves some satisfaction.


Governments paid billions to help develop COVID-19 vaccines — so why is Big Pharma charging us billions more for the vaccines we helped create?

Source: — Authors:

If we think of war profiteers as being lower than a snake’s belly, what are we to make of the drug industry’s pandemic profiteers? … Canada, like other government funders in this global crisis, is not expecting to recover its costs in funding COVID-related medicine…  governments that fund research that is used in lucrative commercial drug production must demand a return on their investment. 


Equality

With big bonuses, Air Canada gives us all a $10-million slap in the face

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The airline disclosed… that it gave the bonuses last December to executives and managers “for exceptional performance” over the past year as air travel plunged during the pandemic… What surely leaves Canadians flabbergasted and furious is that this is not one firm making one bad decision… Freeland should… find a way to withhold public funding for Air Canada until the airline rescinds bonuses that stand as a $10-million insult to the country.


Pandemic pay bonuses are going to executives, instead of the front-line workers taking all the risks

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At the same time that executives at Chartwell — Canada’s largest operator of retirement and long-term-care homes — were writing each other big cheques, they were outright rejecting a shareholder proposal to study the possibility of a living wage for their staff. Think about that. They weren’t even being asked to actually pay a living wage — hardly a huge ask in itself. They were only being asked to look into the possibility of doing it, and they said no.


Health

These Ontario experts are calling for universal dental care

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According to one 2017 estimate, every nine minutes, someone arrives at an ER in Ontario with a dental complaint, costing taxpayers $31 million annually. COVID-19 has exacerbated the issue, as the pandemic strains hospital resources and leaves many Ontarians cash-strapped from job losses and reduced working hours… The fact that Canadian Medicare doesn’t cover dental work stems from conditions around the time of its inception, in 1968…


‘Not vaccine hesitancy but inequity.’ Organizers take us inside Toronto’s northwest pop-ups where lines form everyday at 5 a.m.

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… thousands lined up in rain and snow make it clear that low vaccination rates in these communities aren’t products of vaccine hesitancy. Rather, the situation unfolding has everything to do with structural inequities that starve communities of key resources, and in this case, life saving vaccines in the midst of a deadly pandemic… If vaccines are made accessible in trusted spaces, through trusted relationships, people will come.


Inclusion

Toronto has the chance to create affordable housing, improving thousands of lives

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Toronto’s housing market is in the brutal process of evicting low-income residents from our city. Without bold action from our governments things will continue to get worse… It would only require 5 to 10 per cent of the floor area of new highrise condo buildings and 3 to 5 per cent of new highrise rental buildings to be affordable to lower-income residents… Inclusive Zoning is only one of a number of policies that, if implemented in earnest, could make housing affordable for all Canadians.


Making the Case for Universal Basic Income

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The idea of providing a fixed income for all members of society to meet their basic needs and, in doing so, escape cycles of poverty, instability and ill health, is… a well-studied and financially viable option that would benefit Canada’s economy and social fabric immensely… Basic income programs are not tied to employment, and, unlike welfare and disability assistance, they do not require constant monitoring to determine eligibility and deservedness… basic income is about freedom. Not the freedom of unregulated capitalism… that prioritizes corporations above people — but a more expansive, human one.


Social Security

Ontario’s vision for social assistance is encouraging – but the budget tells a different story

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Last week’s provincial budget did not include significant funds for housing or other services that contribute to well-being… Current rates are woefully inadequate. The last time rates were increased was 2018. As the cost of living has continued to rise, this means that people have, in effect, had their rates cut during this period. To support people to live with dignity, social assistance must provide both sufficient income and access to services.


Is it time to bury the idea of a universal basic income?

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… the real issue with basic income is a public commitment to an adequate income floor below which no one should fall when factoring in all income sources. A range of income support programs can provide universal coverage without being uniform in delivery as the recent B.C. study indicates… Highly diverse needs by age, gender, (dis)ability, family status, education, employment status, etc. suggest that income supports should be tailored to a wide variety of living circumstances within our population.


Governance

A global minimum corporate tax is an important step toward fairness

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The whole idea of a minimum global tax is to prevent multinationals from tax-shopping, so it will be effective only to the extent that many countries agree to it. The next step is to get the bigger G20 group on board, and then there’s the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation… the biggest companies that have flourished during the pandemic, should pay their share.


Broadcast Act changes are not about freedom of speech

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Free speech is not the same as freedom to broadcast or freedom from accountability. Advocates for an absolutist definition of free speech that includes the freedom to exploit modern technology without consequence ignore the deleterious effects of this world view on broader society… It could be used for the benefit of humanity, but not without some dramatic changes to current terms of acceptable use. Unrestricted access to the most powerful broadcasting platform in history is nobody’s right.