Tag Archives: Capitalism

As Rich Countries Shield Pharma Monopolies, Just 0.2% of Covid Vaccine Doses Have Gone to Poor Nations

“We need the cooperation of the whole world and the elimination of all the barriers to the production and distribution of vaccines.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-11-2021

Graphic: Our World in Data/CC

The head of the World Health Organization estimated in a recent address that of the more than 700 million coronavirus vaccine doses that have been administered across the globe, just 0.2% have gone to people in low-income nations—inequity that experts warn will persist unless rich countries end their obstruction of an international effort to suspend vaccine patents.

Speaking to the media on Friday, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus warned that “there remains a shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines” as pharmaceutical companies cling to their monopoly control over technology that was developed with large infusions of public money. Continue reading

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The Coming Antibiotic-Resistance Pandemic that Could Make COVID Look Like the Flu

While the Global South overprescribes antibiotics, in the West farm animals are pumped full of them, farmers even giving them to healthy animals so they can be packed tighter in ever-increasing herd sizes.

By Alan Macleod  Published 4-6-2021 by MintPress News

Photo: Gerard D Wright/CC

Big pharmaceutical companies have not come out of COVID-19 looking like model global citizens. Pfizer has been accused of bullying South American governments after demanding they put up military bases as collateral in exchange for vaccines. Meanwhile, Bill Gates persuaded Oxford University to sign an exclusive deal with AstraZeneca for its new offering, rather than allow it to be copied freely by all. The British/Swedish multinational quickly announced it would fall 50 million vaccines short on its first shipment to the European Union.

But what if there were a looming health crisis that could make COVID look almost minor in comparison? The World Health Organization (WHO) has been warning of just such a case for some time now, predicting that antimicrobial resistance will kill up to 10 million people every year by 2050 — almost four times as many as the coronavirus has killed in the past 12 months. Continue reading

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‘We Have to Act’: Atmospheric CO2 Passes 420 PPM for First Time Ever

“It is truly groundbreaking,” Greta Thunberg said of the growing concentration of the heat-trapping gas. “And I don’t mean that in a good way.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-6-2021

FridaysForFuture protest in Berlin on 3-22-2019. Photo: Leonhard Lenz/CC

The concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide surged past 420 parts per million for the first time in recorded history this past weekend, according to a measurement taken at the Mauna Loa Observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii.

When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research station “began collecting CO2 measurements in the late 1950s, atmospheric CO2 concentration sat at around 315 PPM,” the Washington Post reported. “On Saturday, the daily average was pegged at 421.21 PPM—the first time in human history that number has been so high.” Continue reading

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Indigenous Youth Take to DC Streets With Demands to #ShutDownDAPL and #StopLine3

“Climate chaos is here. We cannot wait.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-1-2021

Indigenous activists gathered in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to demand to demand the Biden administration stop the Line 3 and Dakota Access pipelines. (Photo: Nadahness Greene)

A group of Indigenous youth activists rallied in the nation’s capital on Thursday to demand President Joe Biden reject fossil fuel pipelines including Line 3 and the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“We came to D.C. to give the fossil fuel snake back to the U.S. We don’t want the pipelines you snaked through our communities without our consent,” said organizers. Continue reading

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‘Outrageous’: 46 Million Americans Say They Would Not Be Able to Afford Healthcare If They Needed It

“The American model of health reform—throwing money at private insurers—cannot solve it.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-31-2021

Dr. Christina Bastin De Jong, a critical care physician at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, shares a light moment with Jimmy Porter, who was on the mend following a serious bout with COVID-19, on Thursday, Dec. 10. (Photo by Derek Montgomery for Essentia Health)

A new study released Wednesday morning shows that nearly 50 million Americans would be unable to afford quality healthcare should the need for treatment suddenly arise, a finding seen as further evidence of the immorality of a for-profit insurance system that grants or denies coverage based on a person’s ability to pay.

“People can’t afford their goddamn healthcare,” Tim Faust, a proponent of single-payer healthcare, tweeted in response to the new report. “Families spend less on food so they can make insurance payments. This problem is felt by all, but concentrated among poor people and black people. The American model of health reform—throwing money at private insurers—can not solve it.” Continue reading

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Senate Dems Employ Obscure Law in Effort to Reverse Trump Rollback of Methane Emissions Standards

While lawmakers are also using the Congressional Review Act to challenge one other policy change, it could be used to target dozens of deregulatory actions from Trump’s presidency.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-26-2021

Natural gas flares from a flare-head at the Orvis State well on the Evanson family farm in McKenzie County, North Dakota. Photo: Tim Evanson/flickr/CC

Four members of the Democrat-controlled Senate this week introduced a resolution that would use an “obscure but powerful” federal law to reverse the Trump administration’s weakening of Obama-era rules on fossil fuel companies’ emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) along with Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Angus King (I-Maine)—who caucuses with the Democrats—led a larger group of lawmakers Thursday in introducing a resolution of disapproval, under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), to reinstate Obama-era methane rules. Continue reading

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Scientists Say Humanity Now at ‘Dawn of What Must Be a Transformative Decade’

“Whether humanity has the collective wisdom to navigate the Anthropocene to sustain a livable biosphere for people and civilizations, as well as for the rest of life with which we share the planet, is the most formidable challenge facing humanity.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3=22=2021

People in Haiti after TS Laura in August 2020. Screenshot: YouTube

A new analysis examining humanity’s central role in disrupting the support systems of the natural world argues that far-reaching action this decade—including a halt to vast inequalities and the irresponsible deployment of advanced technologies—is vital if a more vibrant and sustainable future is to be achieved.

Published earlier this month in Ambioa journal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the analysis considers the “profound meaning” of the current Anthropocene era, a period of Earth’s history —”one that we are only beginning to fully comprehend” the paper notes—in which the biosphere is being shaped by human activity more than any other natural force. Continue reading

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Big Pharma Quietly Planning Price Hike for Covid Vaccines in ‘Near Future’: Report

“As this shifts from pandemic to endemic, we think there’s an opportunity here for us,” said Pfizer’s Chief Financial Officer Frank D’Amelio.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-19-2021

Photo: KALW/CC

Eager to capitalize on the lasting presence of the coronavirus, executives at Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer—the pharmaceutical corporations that supplied the Covid-19 vaccines approved for use in the U.S.—are quietly planning to hike prices on doses “in the near future,” once they decide the pandemic is over, The Intercept’s Lee Fang reported Thursday.

Although the rapid development of coronavirus vaccines—made possible by large infusions of public resources—has given Big Pharma companies “a boost in goodwill… the public is still sensitive to drug pricing and the reputational risk has, so far, curtailed their ability to reap large financial rewards,” Fang noted. “But that environment, they hope, will change once the pandemic ends: a date that drugmakers themselves reserve the right to declare.” Continue reading

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Lawmakers Urge Biden to Block Massive Petrochemical Complex in Cancer Alley

“This disastrous project is an affront to environmental justice and contrary to your goals to reduce pollution in frontline communities.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-18-2021

Environmental justice campaigners across the country have spoken out against the proposed Formosa Plastics Complex in Louisiana. (Photo: Louisiana Bucket Brigade/Twitter)

A pair of lawmakers known for fighting for environmental justice in Congress sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday urging President Joe Biden to deliver on his campaign promises to curb pollution in frontline communities by permanently blocking a large petrochemical complex in an area of Louisiana called “Cancer Alley.

Residents of St. James Parish, Louisiana and environmental justice advocates nationwide have come out against the Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics Group’s plans for a $9.4 billion complex that would release cancer-causing chemicals and, according to one watchdog’s estimate, produce 13.6 million tons of planet-heating emissions per year. Continue reading

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Congress Urged to Take ‘Immediate Action’ to Stop Debt Collectors From Snatching Relief Checks

A legislative fix is needed, said one observer, to prevent “a flood of new judgments from debt collectors to siphon stimulus funds out.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-14-2021

Screenshot: C-SPAN

Direct payments from the newly approved coronavirus relief package began landing in people’s bank accounts with striking quickness this weekend, but a glaring shortcoming of the American Rescue Plan caused by the arcane procedural tool that Democrats used to pass the bill could prevent checks from reaching many vulnerable households.

Unlike the Covid relief bill that Congress passed through regular order in December, the new $1.9 trillion legislation does not include protections barring debt collectors from hoovering up the checks and using them to pay off people’s private debts—which, as The American Prospect‘s David Dayen put it, makes the American Rescue Plan “also a cash cow for debt collectors.” Continue reading

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