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Philanthropy cannot buy justice

The failure of the Indian government in the current crisis is real. Just as other rulers have praised a successful fight against Covid-19 in the competition of nations, Narendra Modi also praised India's glorious success against Covid-19 at the World Economic Forum in January 2021. It is just as real that India has banned the export of vaccines to protect one's own population first. This is not surprising in the context of current nationalism.

The export ban is also a symptom of the system: Due to a non-transparent licensing by Astra Zeneca, the largest Indian manufacturer was obliged to deliver some of the cans to England instead of these being available for India and other lower-income countries. And finally, it is also a reality that Indian pharmaceutical CEOs are also pharmaceutical CEOs - with the result that vaccines in India are now sold at different prices to the governments of the states and to private hospitals, where those who can stock up can to be able to afford it. Here too, of course, with the blessing of the government, which allows this new pricing policy.

But when rich countries condemn the failure of the Indian government and the Indian export ban from their comfortably warm rooms, it is nothing but hypocritical. Likewise, it is the assurances of the Cassis of the world that now want to send help to India.

Again, philanthropy cannot do justice.

Instead of just sending aid to India now, the system needs to be fundamentally changed. If Switzerland were seriously committed, it would have had to advocate the temporary suspension of intellectual property privileges and access to knowledge from the very beginning. Not least because the development of Covid-19 vaccinations was made possible by massive public subsidies.

But even in a pandemic, Switzerland prefers to protect the profits of pharmaceutical companies. Sending humanitarian aid for 1 million is a cheap attempt to buy oneself out of the disaster that Switzerland contributed to through its political blockade.