American pharmaceuticals and conglomerates making hefty profit from coronavirus pandemic

Edited By: Palki Sharma WION
New Delhi, India Published: May 14, 2020, 11:35 PM(IST)

A file photo of face masks. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

They are taking advantage of the global health emergency and prioritising personal gain over human lives by holding back the scale of production.

American pharmaceuticals and conglomerates which produce facemasks are making hefty profit from coronavirus pandemic because of their monopoly and clutch of the medical market.

They are taking advantage of the global health emergency and prioritising personal gain over human lives by holding back the scale of production.

The biggest mask making companies in the world are American. According to an estimate, eight out of top ten suppliers of facemasks are from US. 3M and Honeywell are on top of the list.

While suppliers are trying to catch up with the high demand and massive shortage of protection equipment worldwide, US President Donald Trump had to force 3M to stop exporting masks by invoking the Korean war era Defence Production Act.

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The company had to bow down in front of Trump and strike a deal to bring more than 160 million masks to America. 

3M is currently making the best N-95 maks in the world.

However, several big firms are still taking undue advantage of their patents even during the coronavirus crisis.

As a result, governments are taking necessary measures to introduce compulsory licencing to ensure that frontline workers such the doctors, nurses, the staff and police officers, who are selflessly contributing in the battle against coronavirus, are well protected. 

Kentucky governor Andy Beshear had asked 3M to release the patent that allows them to control the technology that is used to make the N95 mask. 

In Chile, a resolution was passed to introduce compulsory licencing. Israel issued compulsory licences for lopinavir and ritonavir. 

Ecuador allowed the country's Health Minister to issue compulsory licences over all patents related to COVID-19. While, Canada and Germany amended their laws that make compulsory licencing easier. 

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