Events, Resources

29 June: Big Pharma vs. the People in the times of COVID

Global Campaign

Side Event at the occasion of the 47th Session of the UN Human Rights Council




Big Pharma vs. the People in the times of COVID:

Ways to safeguard the Right to Health

29th June

2 pm CEST


Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in English and Spanish


This event strives for three main outcomes: (i) to denounce Pharma’s behavior and profiteering made possible by the corporate capture we see in the pandemic response; (ii) to call for the immediate authorization for the international production and delivery of Covid health technologies through the approval of the Waiver proposal at the WTO; (iii) to recruit participants to support the discussions around the binding treaty providing more specific guidance on how to engage on these and future issues. With this, we expect that the participants will gain new strengths in our claiming of the right to health, both locally and internationally.


Rachmi Hertanti (Global Justice/Indonesia) – Big Pharma’s behavior and inequity in access to health in the pandemic;


Harris Gleckman (UMass-Boston/USA) – COVAX: a human rights risk for developing countries;


Indranil Mukhopadhyay (PHM/India) – Intellectual Property barriers and the maximization of the international production and delivery of Covid techs;


Manoela Roland (HOMA/Brazil) – How the binding treaty would help to deal with inequalities generated by Big Pharma behaviour;


Moderator: Clara Alves (ABIA/Brazil)



More than a year after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is not addressing the crises as an urgent human rights issue. Although essential health technologies to fight the coronavirus have been developed in record time, many countries and populations do not yet have access to them. Vaccine nationalism and commercial self-interest have blocked meaningful access. For Big Pharma the demand for vaccines and related medical supplies is just the latest way to expand their dominant market position irrespective of our collective commitment to human rights.


COVAX created to streamline access to essential products for the control of the pandemic have failed to meet their commitments. Also, various kinds of intellectual property barriers are being perpetuated, making it impossible for the world as a whole to mobilize efforts to meet the health needs demanded by the pandemic.


The Covid-19 pandemic again emphasizes the urgent need to support the elaboration and approval of a binding treaty to regulate transnational corporations with regard to human rights, currently under discussion in the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). A strong binding convention on TNCS and HR, as proposed by public interest CSOs, will be key to guarantee human rights are respected in corporate activities.

We, public interest CSOs, health movements, international NGOs and health experts, believe the 47th UNHRC Session is an opportunity to yet again denounce transnational corporations behaviour in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and to put forward strategies to once and for all change the prevailing impunity. Therefore, we will be holding an open event on ways out to assure the right to health is fulfilled in the context of the pandemic.



Convenors: Global Campaign to Reclaim People’s Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity, ABIA/GTPI, REBRIP, TNI, AEPF