Rich countries are first in line for Covid vaccines because a handful of companies control both the price and quantity
Pharmaceutical company patent monopolies are the elephant in the room in the debate about Covid-19 vaccine shortages in Australia.
Most of debate locally has been about whether the federal government ordered enough vaccine doses last year from Pfizer and other companies. This misses the broader point that a handful of pharmaceutical companies control both the price and quantity of vaccines.
Even in the context of a global pandemic, they can set the terms in closed-door negotiations with rich countries. These companies have already made billions from vaccines which were developed at record speeds and supported with public funds.
Dr Patricia Ranald, AFTINET Convenor, explains the situation in today's the Guardian online.