Worldwide, 10,000 people die every day from COVID. While wealthy, affluent countries have access to COVID treatments, vaccines and diagnostics, the majority of the world’s population living in low- and middle-income countries have little or no access to these. This is because intellectual property, including patents, protects the

profits of pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical companies and rich country governments, including Switzerland and the European Union, are opposing the waiving of these rights within the WTO framework. Let’s mobilize to end this vaccine apartheid!



Big Pharma has held the populations of low- and middle-income countries hostage by reserving their supplies of vaccines, at high prices, for the most profitable countries. The lack of immediate universal access to vaccines, treatments, tests and other technologies could result in hundreds of thousands of deaths and the emergence of more contagious variants. Since October 2, 2020, the day when the countries of the South, led by South Africa and India, requested the lifting of intellectual property on anti-COVID vaccines, test and treatments etc at the WTO, which was refused by the European Union and Switzerland in particular, an average of 10,119 people per day have died of this disease! As the WTO Ministerial Conference meets from November 30 to December 3 in Geneva, let’s mobilize to shout our disagreement with this medical « apartheid » policy and to demand the lifting of intellectual property rights on COVID vaccines, treatments and diagnostics!

The vaccines were developed with public funds. While they are massively distributed in rich countries, their sale benefits today only the big shareholders of Big Pharma, who see their dividends explode. In contrast to this logic, the lifting of intellectual property rights would allow much wider access to vaccines, treatments and diagnostics and would save hundreds of thousands of human lives. A remarkable study by the American consumer organization Public Citizen, in conjunction with researchers at Oxford University, shows that by lifting patents, undisclosed information protection and technology transfer, we can vaccinate the world and eradicate the pandemic.

Lifting intellectual property: a cost-effective solution for millions of lives saved
Using the same planning tools that the pharmaceutical industry uses to prepare its industrial site projects, the study makes a compelling case for how the global community could establish regional centers capable of producing eight billion doses of vaccine by May 2022. This would allow 80% of the population to be vaccinated at a cost of $9.4 billion, equivalent to the annual budget of the State of Geneva… a paltry cost considering the hundreds of thousands of lives that could be saved. This figure is even more telling when compared to the tens of billions of government subsidies received by the pharmaceutical trusts to develop vaccines… Do we really want these public investments to only allow the populations of rich countries to be vaccinated at the risk of never getting rid of COVID-19 while allowing a few privileged people to amass colossal fortunes?

Let’s mobilize for the life of all, against the profits of a few
The fight against Covid-19, but also against all other diseases and medical problems, must be led on a planetary scale by suspending the logic of profit maximization. The production of means of prevention, vaccines, medicines, etc., but also the care of the sick cannot depend on their solvency. Public control of research, of the pharmaceutical industry and of the hospital sector, as well as the development of a quality and free public health service, is therefore more than ever indispensable. In this respect, the example of Cuba, with the development of its public vaccine and its international solidarity in the field of health, shows the way. The WTO Ministerial Conference is cancelled but the mobilization continues! Vaccine apartheid has given birth to a variant: mobilization is more necessary than ever! On November 30, let us mobilize to shout our disagreement with this « medical apartheid » policy and to demand the lifting of intellectual property rights on vaccines, treatments and all other medical products, which is necessary to curb Covid-19! This is essential to ensure the right to health for all. 

Everywhere, citizens, associations, unions, elected officials… let’s seize these Days of Shame to demonstrate in favor of universal and effective access to vaccines, treatments and diagnostics that must be considered as common goods. Maintaining intellectual property rights is criminal! Let’s support the countries of the South by demanding together that they be lifted without further delay! Let’s meet on November 30th at 5:30 pm in Geneva, Place Lise-Girardin, for a big candlelight demonstration.





Amnesty international Suisse

Abrasco – Associação Brasileira de Saúde Coletiva (Brazil)

Association International des Droits de l’Homme et du Développement Social (AIDHDES)

Association Jardins de Cocagne solidarité Nord-Sud (Genève)

Association for Proper Internet Governance (Switzerland)

Asociación Latinoamericana de Medicina Social (ALAMES)

Association pour l’aide médicale en Amérique centrale (AMCA)

Attac Austria & France & Norway & Suisse

Avenir Syndical (Genève)

Centrale Sanitaire Suisse Romande (CSSR)

Centre Europe – Tiers Monde (CETIM)


Centre kurde des Droits de l’Homme (Switzerland)

Collectif brevets sur les vaccins. Stop ! Réquisition (France)

Comité pour l’Abolition des dettes Illégitimes (CADTM)

Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO)

Coordination Nationale des Comités de défense des hôpitaux et maternités de proximité (France)

Defence for Children International (Geneva)

Ecologistas en Acción (Spain)

Forum alternativo (Suisse)

Forum per il diritto alla salute (Milano)

Gen-ethisches Netzwerk e.V. (Germany)

Grève du Climat Genève

Health Global Access Project

Ibn Sina Academy of Medieval Medicine and Sciences

Indonesia for Global Justice

Initiative citoyenne européenne. Pas de profits sur la pandémie (France)

Initiative citoyenne européenne (Italie)

International Transport Workers’Federation  (ITF)

ISDE Italia – Associazione Medici per l’Ambiente 

Marche mondiale des femmes

Médecins du Monde International

Médecins du Monde Suisse

Medico International Schweiz



No Profit on Pandemic

Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS)

Pacto Por la Salud y la Vita (Colombia)

People Health Movement

Pharmaceutical Accountability Foundation

Public services international

Réseau québécois sur l’intégration continentale (RQIC)


Syndicat des Services Publics (SSP, région Genève)

Society for International Development (SID)


Union Syndicale Solidaires (France)

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM, Europe)

Viva Salud


Organizations wishing to sign the appeal should contact