Nikolas Barry-Shaw speaking on Johnson and Johnson covid vaccine and big pharma lobbying
Screenshot: CPAC, Nov. 9th, 2021.

Big Pharma and Vaccine Apartheid

Nikolas Barry-Shaw
3 weeks ago


Generic COVID-19 vaccines could help overcome #VaccineApartheid and end the pandemic. A Canadian company has been trying to do just that — but the federal govt has been stonewalling it for months. Sign this petition


The pandemic has taught us many things. One of those things is that the Global South cannot depend on the generosity of wealthy countries like Canada or the benevolence of Big Pharma to ensure that they have access to life-saving medicines.

The profiteering of the vaccine producers and the hoarding of rich countries has meant that low-income countries have received only a tiny fraction of the doses they need to vaccinate their populations. The distribution of doses is so lopsided that the WHO has called it “vaccine apartheid.”

That’s why Bolivia turned to a Canadian generic drug manufacturer, Biolyse Pharma, in March 2021 to produce a version of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. But their attempt to bypass Big Pharma’s vaccine monopoly has been stymied for the past eight months by the Trudeau government.

The Bolivian government is not asking for donations or charity from Canada. All it wants is the recognition that, in a global health emergency, access to life-saving medicines should come before Big Pharma's profits.

Canada’s refusal to act on such a request is not only morally reprehensible. It is also dangerously short-sighted, epidemiologically speaking.

This frustrating state of affairs has led the Bolivian government to join with the NDP’s Niki Ashton, the Council of Canadians and other allies to raise the issue publicly in the hopes of unblocking things.


Generic COVID-19 vaccines could help overcome #VaccineApartheid and end the pandemic. A Canadian company has been trying to do just that — but the federal govt has been stonewalling it for months. Sign this petition