Patents Kill: campaign for health to be pursued in the public interest

The 'Patents Kill Campaign' is an initiative by BUKO Pharma-Campaign, Medico International (Germany), Outras Palavras (Brazil), People’s Health Movement and Society for International Development.

We, the undersigned, demand from our governments policies that treat pharmaceuticals as global public goods and limit the power of pharmaceutical companies in the public interest; a policy that is geared to the health needs of the people.


The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed to the world the central role of health in national and international policymaking. It has also cleared the ground from persisting market-driven ideologies in the way health is promoted and managed, consistently affirming one important and well-known reality, common to all nations on the planet: health is a governments’ strategic task that must be pursued in the public interest with responsibility and respect for its implications on society. Health and healthcare cannot be provided resorting to an extractive logic. The health agenda that Covid-19 has revamped so much globally must be inspired and guided by the notion of universal human rights.  

Unfortunately, policymaking has geared towards an opposite direction. Even today, in the harsh times of an unprecedented pandemic provoked by an unknown virus, governments refuse to consider reform – if not  outright removal - of one of the biggest structural hurdles to global health justice,  when it comes to the supply of life-saving medical tools to all people. Yet, these very governments  have been confronted with massive tolls. Yet, they exercise in the rhetoric of Covid-19 vaccines as “a public good”, claiming that the right to health must in this case  be defended against any profit logics. But we have known that the global patent system is the stumbling block. The production of scientific  knowledge based on monopoly rights has never worked and it will not work in making COVD19 vaccines accessible to all people in need. It will not work because it is geared towards maximizing profits and companies’ returns on investment rather than fostering knowledge sharing, the promotion of research and development (R&D) of much needed medical tools, and even less their equitable distribution. The negative externalities of the WTO regime of intellectual property rights have emerged clearly since their inception, when we were all dealing with the HIV7Aids pandemic, and they are emerging even more dramatically today, with the Covid 19 pandemic. Failure to change this system of knowledge production will seriously hamper innovation and the collective intelligence it requires with dire consequences, far beyond the current pandemic. 

The WHO estimates that one third of all patients worldwide do not have access to urgently needed drugs/vaccines/diagnostics and other medical tools due to several systemic obstacles, beyond the high prices.  It’s high time we started to trigger off a global policy debate on changing the rules of the game, when it becomes to securing medical remedies to a world that cannot breath anymore. That ‘s why we ask for your support to the Patents Kill campaign,  a civil society initiative calling on our governments to implement policies that address people's health needs, treat medicines as global public goods and limit the power of pharmaceutical companies in the interest of human rights and public health. 

We ask you you tu support this call by signing through the link: