What is an export obligation

Coronavirus: How states fight harder and harder for corona drugs

German doctors call the drug Remdesivir a "bright spot" and a "milestone" in treatment. With the Ebola drug, patients seriously ill with corona would recover more quickly. But just as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced this week that it would officially approve the use of the drug in Europe for Covid 19 patients, fierce competition broke out between the USA and Europe for the available annual production.

In the style of Donald Trump, US Secretary of Health Alex Azar said: "President Trump has struck an incredible deal to ensure that Americans have access to the first approved therapeutic for Covid-19."

In fact, the American government agreed with the remdesivir producer, the US pharmaceutical giant Gilead, to supply doses for 500,000 treatments worth the equivalent of one billion euros. The contract secures almost the entire production volume for July, August and September.

Lauterbach "A very unfriendly act by the Americans"

Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn called on Gilead to meet its export obligations. He expects "that Germany and Europe will be supplied when it comes to such a drug," he said ZDF. The need for the coming weeks is still secured by the reserves in the central pharmacy of the federal government, said the CDU minister.

The SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach criticized the US approach in Deutschlandfunk: "The current action on remdesivir is a very unfriendly act by the Americans, and if we approached the vaccine later, we would certainly all have big problems," he warned. "That would be tantamount to auctioning the vaccine."

Germany is also involved in the fight for vaccines

But Germany is also involved in the tough fight for a possible vaccine and drugs against Corona at the international level. In an unusual step, the federal government took a 23 percent stake in the Tübingen biotech company CureVac for 300 million euros, which is researching a possible corona vaccine at an advanced stage.

And together with France, Italy and the Netherlands, Germany has signed an agreement with the Swedish-British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The company, one of the largest drug manufacturers in the world, is expected to produce at least 300 million vaccine doses - which would be enough for two thirds of the entire EU population.

"Federal government will use appropriate instruments"

In one of our editors' response to a small request from the Left Group, the federal government announced further possible advance purchase commitments for drugs and vaccines, if this could secure the supply of Germany: "The federal government will use appropriate instruments within the scope of its financial and legal possibilities use ", explains the Ministry of Health.

But despite all concerns about the supply of their own population, the left-wing health politician, Sylvia Gabelmann, warns not to forget the rest of the world, which, like Europe, cannot afford to be supplied with corona drugs and possible vaccines with Trump's "America- first "policy to compete.

Left warns of consequences for poorer countries

"Advance purchases and reservations mean that the vaccine doses produced are not available to poor countries," says Gabelmann. "In the end it is obviously the purchasing power of states that determines availability," she says. "This can cost many lives, especially in the global south."

When joining CureVac, the federal government should have insisted that it be ensured that a possible vaccine would also be affordable in poor countries.

The federal government does not want to exert any influence on vaccine manufacturers

However, the Ministry of Economic Affairs replied to Gabelmann's request: "The federal government does not intend to intervene in CureVac's operational business policy." The vaccine should in principle be open to everyone.

According to the Ministry of Health, there should be "a fair share for low-income countries" when pre-ordering European vaccine doses. "The aim of the investment by Curevac is to reduce Germany and Europe 's dependence on the development of active ingredients and drugs and production in third countries," emphasizes the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Left-wing politician Gabelmann criticizes that Germany is doing too little to ensure the open availability of funds against Corona: "The federal government continues to rely on patents and advance purchases, which makes globally fair access impossible for many countries."

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