Survival of the richest

PVA AT UNGA: WORLD LEADERS must End Pharma Monopolies


HIV, Zika, Ebola, Covid, Monkeypox – we are seeing the same patterns repeat themselves over and over. The global response to health crises is failing us again and again. The way the COVID-19 pandemic has been handled is entirely geared towards the survival of the richest.

There is no moral justification for millions to die whilst pharma billionaires line their already overflowing pockets with profits gained in part from public research and investment. We cannot continue on a path where pharma shareholders call the shots and women, minorities, and people in poorer countries suffer the consequences.

Not when another future is possible. We can break up monopolies, improve global research capacity, support tech transfers to ramp up production and invest in a redistribution of power from pharma companies and wealthy countries to the Global South researchers and manufacturers who stand ready to produce the vaccines, tests and treatments needed to keep people safe. We can build a global healthcare system that works for all of us, not just the people on top.

The COVID-19 death toll is four times higher in lower-income countries than wealthy ones. Something must change.

We ask world leaders meeting at UNGA: will you use this moment to support models that oppose monopolies, share technology and intellectual property, and treat life-saving science as global public goods? Or will future pandemics continue to be a case of survival of the richest?

hard truths

  • In 2021, 1 person every minute died in a low or middle income country because of lack of COVID vaccine access.
  • COVID-19 hasn’t been bad for everyone. Unchecked pharma profits mean 40 new people have become pharma billionaires.
  • Despite huge public funding, pharma corporations like Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech have made obscene profits – at one point in 2021 they were making a combined $1000 profit per second – whilst refusing transfer technology to so that enough vaccines could be produced to help protect everyone.
  • The same companies prioritised selling vaccines to wealthier countries whilst people in poorer countries were left unprotected against the deadly virus.
  • The consequences have been devastating. The COVID-19 death toll is four times higher in low income countries than rich ones.

We demand a complete system change.
No more survival of the richest.

Alliance members are taking this message to the streets of New York – with posters, campaigns and actions as world leaders meet for the UN General Assembly.

Will you use our simple tool to help us take it to windows, streets and buildings in every corner of the world?

Let’s go!

COVID is sexist

Just as the impact of COVID has not been equally distributed across richer and less wealthy countries, so the pandemic has not affected men and women equally.

The way the world responds to health crises is unfair – and we must make sure it changes. It is essential that the global response to pandemics works for all of us, not just those at the top.

Lockdown leads to 60% increase in teenage pregnancy.
70% of frontline health care workers are women.
Putting profit before health deepens gender inequality.
Call it out.

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Along with alliance colleagues and Afrigen, we hosted a side event at UNGA focussing on how we ensure justice, equity and human rights in the response to global health crises.

We provided a virtual reality tour of the WHO-backed South African mRNA hub – and implored leaders to safeguard the hub and other Global South innovators against the threat of pharmaceutical companies.

About the threat to the hub