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Draghi talks about “common good vaccines” but on Biden's niche proposal

Yesterday, for the first time, Big Pharma's monopoly on vaccines creaked: the announcement by US President Joe Biden to suspend patents could in fact be a turning point in the management of the pandemic. This has led to a global discussion on anti-Covid drugs and on this Europe — whose leaders are meeting these days at the Oporto summit — is already split. France in favor of liberalization, Germany opposed it. It's Italy? The position of Prime Minister Draghi is that of the two-faced Janus. On the one hand the beautiful words, on the other a non-decision.

But let's try to understand better by deconstructing the afternoon of declarations. Draghi waited to hear all the positions expressed by his European colleagues Macron, Merkel, and von der Leyen. Only at the end of the day, he sent a two-line note to the press: “Vaccines are a global common good. It is a priority to increase their production, guaranteeing its safety, and breaking down the obstacles that limit vaccination campaigns ”.

There is no need for a particularly thorough analysis of the text to note that there is no trace of the words “patents” or “liberalizations”. Neither with Big Pharma nor against them then. One blow to the rim and one to the barrel. The former president of the ECB also on this occasion follows the strategy he had already experimented with for the AstraZeneca case and for the football Super League. That is to tag along. Don't sound sluggish by making a statement anyway (even if it's last). But, however, this implicating the government in consequent positions or imminent actions.

Non-deployment also plays a role in domestic politics, because Draghi thus manages to make the slalom between the majority and the opposition. Not to rule on patents means neither supporting the Pd and M5S, which welcomed Biden's turnaround with great enthusiasm and relaunching the text of the request to the EU for a waiver on intellectual property approved in March in the Senate, nor the League which remained in silence.

Of course, the concepts that Draghi has brought forward are legitimate, the global production and redistribution of vaccines are more urgent than ever. But the prime minister does not intend to detach himself from the giants of the pharmaceutical world. “Guaranteeing safety” also means making use of the protocols of Pfizer, Moderna, and BioNTech which defended themselves by saying that “patents are not the factor that limits the production and supply of vaccines”. Which is the same thing that the spokeswoman for the German executive stressed: “The suggestion of the United States to revoke the patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines has significant implications for the production of vaccines as a whole. The protection of the intellectual property is a source of innovation and must remain so in the future ”.

Future. Exactly. Social inequalities exploded with the pandemic is the theme of the issues for the future. And Draghi's non-choice could weigh on a European level both for the fight against Covid, but even for the vision of a new community that is emerging. Circumstances such as “common good vaccines” alone are not enough. Italy must take sides.

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