Remdesivir purchase: has the US gone too far?
The US government has bought up nearly all stocks of the drug Remdesivir for the next three months. Remdesivir is currently considered one of the most promising treatments for severe coronavirus symptoms. Some commentators are furious and accuse Washington of selfishness. Others advise Europe to prepare to go to battle for medicines.
Health war must be prevented
The US president must not be allowed to start a war for drugs, warns El País:
“Trump's move demands a response from the international community because it provides a glimpse of the type of strategy he is willing to pursue and the ferocious competition that could begin once a vaccine or an effective drug is found. ... Trump has already agreed with the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi that he will invest in the vaccine it is currently testing in exchange for being given priority in supplies should the result prove safe and effective. There is the risk of the outbreak of a vicious nationalist war which excludes a large part of humanity from the benefits of a vaccination or potential treatments.”
A Wild West-style raid
Duma is furious with the US:
“America casts itself as the guiding star of civilisation, a model of life and progress for other nations. But in the case of Remdesivir the primitive instinct of the Wild West bandit who breaks into a poor family's house and steals their last savings has taken over. Dozens of countries that were planning to buy doses of the medicine now feel robbed, and their seriously ill patients are condemned to die. ... Just because the US ignored the danger six months ago, or lacked the resources and capacities to either fight or contain it, the rest of the world is now having to pay for Trump's incompetence and his 'America first' creed.”
Selfishness is of no use to anyone
A unified and coordinated international approach to the pandemic would also be in the interest of the United States, The Times points out:
“An America First policy in acquisition of medicines ensures that patients who may benefit from a drug will not get it. ... America's allies need to stress that this approach is in no one's interests. Even if the US were to buy enough antiviral or vaccine to treat every patient, the effect of a pandemic on growth and security would threaten America too. Drugs need to be shared, not just for humane reasons but because doing so will reduce suffering overall. The world is far from having a unified pandemic response. This crisis needs to bequeath one.”
Europe lagging behind again
The EU must arm itself for the distribution struggles of the future, Die Presse warns:
“So once again we find ourselves in a global struggle for resources. Fifty years ago those who had their hand on the oil tap called the shots. Then the Internet giants conquered the business world. And now it's clearly the pharmaceutical and biotech companies that hold the key to prosperity. One gets the feeling that Europe is once again lagging behind here, because the issue of national security has so far been completely underexposed in the areas of economic and social policy. ... Europe therefore needs a new strategic orientation, and fast: a European security policy that goes beyond military agendas. One that also includes economic and social policy aspects.”