A new poll released Friday found that a whopping 94% of adults in the US do not want pharmaceutical corporations to control the global supply of Covid-19 vaccines, lending additional support to international demands for achieving universal access to inoculation through more knowledge sharing, technology transfer, and public production of doses.
That 94% figure includes respondents who expressed no preference, and it revealed a strong bipartisan consensus, with 96% of Biden voters and 92% of Trump voters in agreement. The online survey was conducted by YouGov between June 9-10 on behalf of the Medicine Equality Now! campaign, which seeks to dismantle the intellectual property (IP) barriers that cause millions of unnecessary deaths per year by undermining equal access to lifesaving medicines.
While pollsters found that the vast majority of Americans are unaware of the extent to which pharmaceutical giants exercise monopoly powers over vaccine manufacturing and underestimate how much money a few private companies have made from selling doses, they also discovered that 50% of the nation's adults—including half of Trump voters—consider it unacceptable that Big Pharma has made substantial profits from vaccines developed using public funding.
"The majority of the U.S. public is not satisfied with the current system of vaccine access," Gregg Gonsalves, associate professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health and global health activist, said in as statement. "As Americans, we know how pharmaceutical companies operate, prioritizing their profits ahead of saving lives."
"More alarmingly," Gonsalves noted, "many are simply not aware that the world's recovery from this pandemic is controlled by a small number of pharmaceutical corporations—the exact system they've said they don't want."
Only 20% of the U.S. public thought that pharmaceutical companies wield the most control over global vaccine supply, the survey found.
Moreover, just over a quarter of respondents (26%) were aware that Big Pharma had brought in "very large" profits since the start of the vaccine rollout.
According to the poll:
- 66% believed the pharmaceutical companies had made a profit of some kind;
- 12% believed the profits were "fairly small";
- 28% believed the profits were "fairly large"; and
- 26% believed the profits were "very large."
Meanwhile, Corporate Watch estimated earlier this year that Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer, respectively, will make profits of $8 billion and $4 billion from Covid-19 vaccines this year alone, and The Intercept reported that executives are planning to hike prices on doses "in the near future."
According to the survey, a majority of U.S. adults want either the World Health Organization (WHO)—31%—or national governments—24%—to have the most control over global vaccine supply.
"Even in countries where the vaccine rollout is at an advanced stage, the public still has no desire for profit-seeking pharmaceutical companies to control the world's supply of medicines," Solange Baptiste, executive director of the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), said in a statement.
Read the rest of the full report here.