Oxfam International on Saturday warned that the failure of the world’s richest nations to lift intellectual property protections for life-saving vaccines could ultimately raise the cost of administering shots to the entire world by as much as $74 billion.
The report says most of that money going directly into the wallets of pharmaceutical companies and their wealthy shareholders.
According to Oxfam, if patent protections were waived by the World Trade Organization (WTO) low- and middle-income nations could be adequately vaccinated for an estimated cost of $6.5 billion.
“Without a waiver, we would effectively be spending up to 10 times more that we need to in order to get enough doses—much of which will be money that will go directly into the pockets of the shareholders of these companies,” a spokesperson for the global anti-poverty group told The Guardian.
While some leaders at the G7, including U.S. President Joe Biden and President Emmanuel Macron of France, have backed the WTO waiver, many in the G7 continue to stutter and object to such a move.
Pledge by seven of the world’s wealthiest nations to donate a total of one billion coronavirus vaccine doses to developing countries would be enough to inoculate just 11% of the world’s unvaccinated population, leading public health campaigners to slam the initiative as badly inadequate and “little more than a PR gimmick.”
With an estimated 11 billion doses needed to end the pandemic, the donation of 1 billion doses by G7 nations are considered a failure.