Political economy of medical R&D and access: the case of Covid-19 vaccines

Dear all,

Together with the Economics of Innovation WG, we are organizing the webinar Political economy of medical R&D and access: the case of Covid-19 vaccines on
March 16 2021 (check your local time). Link to the event: https://ysi.ineteconomics.org/project/603ba89731931e04e755a615/event/603e32ec31931e04e75646fd

We are happy to have an amazing line up of speakers with Benjamin Coriat, Els Torreele, and Julia Paranhos.

How can we reconcile innovation with social needs? What can we learn from COVID-19 pandemic?

It is widely accepted that combating the COVID-19 pandemic requires a global collaborative effort and knowledge sharing to ease the development and distribution of new health technologies at affordable costs. However, in contrast, the world has witnessed the strengthening of Big Pharma companies together with "vaccine nationalism". While the rents of a few big pharmaceutical conglomerates are increasing in part due to appropriation of research and development results from public Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) systems, the competition among countries to secure doses (sometimes exceeding many-fold the size of their populations) is leading to an increase in prices and global inequality in the distribution of vaccines, preventing developing countries from acquiring them.

This is not the first pandemic and reminds us of the struggle for HIV/AIDS treatment equality. In fact, even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global health landscape confronted inequity and discrimination regarding pharmaceutical technologies' development, production and distribution. However, the pandemic has once again brought visibility of this divide to the forefront. The geographical distribution and vaccination rate highlights the wide gap between the haves and the have-nots of the modern world.

Addressing these issues of geopolitical and geo-economics context, transparency in R&D, and vaccine pricing, three leading researchers were invited to this webinar to spread awareness on a topic that wields consequences for countless lives around the world.