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Hi <<First Name>>,

South Africa is desperately struggling to contain coronavirus. As the worst hit country on the continent of Africa the government has managed to purchase 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine to immunise frontline staff.

But it has been reported that the government has paid more than double the price that European countries have been charged. While AstraZeneca previously said they would cap prices of the vaccine at $3 per dose, South Africa is reported to have paid over $5 per dose, while EU members are paid just over $2 per shot. [1] This is outrageous and undermines the company’s promise to price at-cost during the pandemic. 

Ask AstraZeneca today to urgently release their pricing strategy and to commit to their pledge of non-profit pricing for all countries.
Email AstraZeneca now
There couldn’t be a more striking example of the problems at the heart of our corporate-dominated pharmaceutical system. All pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca are notorious for guarding important information like pricing and keeping it from public scrutiny. But this vaccine was publicly funded and countries in the global south shouldn’t be charged more than rich countries. We only know these prices because they were leaked, this is not good enough. Information about pricing should be in the open. 
 

Catastrophic moral failure


But we do know that with mutations of the virus emerging precisely because of the rapid spread of the disease, this unfairness will ultimately affect all of us.

Last week, WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that “the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure – and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries.”

So far, almost 40 million doses have been administered in 49 higher-income countries, compared to just 25 doses in Guinea which is the only low-income nation in Africa to provide any vaccines. [3] The global initiative, Covax, set up to distribute vaccines fairly lacks the cash to buy them While, the global pool set up by the WHO to share know-how and patents, has effectively been boycotted by Big Pharma companies who are seemingly more interested in making profits than containing the virus.[4]

Meanwhile, governments like our own continue to block attempts by the global south to override the patent system.
 

System change


We’re working to change this system before it’s too late. But today, I want to ask you to get in touch with AstraZeneca - they have pledged to charge a non-profit price and we need to push them to stick to this.

It is reported that the EU has been offered a discount to reflect its public investment in the research and development of the vaccine. But South Africa has also contributed to this vaccine’s development as the host to one of the clinical trials where thousands of volunteers offered their bodies to test the vaccine.

 
Ask AstraZeneca today to urge them to stick to their pledge to charge a non-profit price to all countries during the pandemic. 
Take action today
We need to show that AstraZeneca cannot get away with reneging on its pricing commitment and shielding its practices from public scrutiny. 

We stand in solidarity with countries in the global south to fight for fair pricing and affordable access to effective Covid-19 vaccines. 

We need to change the system - and we can.

Nick Dearden
Director of Global Justice Now 

Notes
 [1] South Africa paying more than double EU price for Oxford vaccine, The Guardian, 22 January 2021,
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/22/south-africa-paying-more-than-double-eu-price-for-oxford-astrazeneca-vaccine 

[2] Belgian secretary of state accidentally reveals EU vaccine prices, Politico, 17 December 2020,
https://www.politico.eu/article/belgian-secretary-of-state-accidentally-reveals-eu-vaccine-prices/

[3] Africa needs timely access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, WHO Africa, 21 January 2021,
https://www.afro.who.int/news/africa-needs-timely-access-safe-and-effective-covid-19-vaccines 

[4] WHO platform for pharmaceutical firms unused since pandemic began, The Guardian, 22 January 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/22/who-platform-for-pharmaceutical-firms-unused-since-pandemic-began

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