COVID-19 drugs should go to needy countries not to the ‘highest bidder’, says Bill Gates

WORLD: Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates put his voice for COVID-19 drugs, he said that the drugs should be available to those who actually are in need, not the ‘highest bidder’. If this continues we will see a prolonged deadly pandemic. 

“If we just let drugs and vaccines go to the highest bidder, instead of to the people and the places where they are most needed, we’ll have a longer, more unjust, deadlier pandemic,” Gates, Founder of Microsoft, said in a video released on Saturday during a virtual COVID-19 conference organized by the International AIDS Society. 

“We need leaders to make these hard decisions about distributing based on equity, not just on market-driven factors.” 

Billions of dollars have been invested by the governments in Europe and the United States in research programmes, trials, manufactures including hundreds of vaccine projects, it is a big concern that richer nations could scoop up promising medicines against the novel coronavirus, leaving developing countries like India empty-handed. 

The World Health Organization and The European Commission warned of an unhealthy competition for snatching promising medicines which are also helpful in resolving the economic crisis developed due to the virus. 

Gates also said that the efforts already began decades back to battle the global HIV/AIDS crisis, countries coming together to eventually make medicines available in most of the world including Africa, can serve as a model for making COVID-19 medicines widely accessible. 

As examples he pointed to the 2002- created Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the U.S.- based President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief to get medicines to people to combat some of the world’s deadliest diseases as examples. 

“One of the best lessons in the fight against HIV/AIDS is the importance of building this large, fair global distribution system to get the drugs out to everyone,” Gates said. 

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