Nine pharmaceutical executives have become billionaires thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, data shows.
“As thousands of people die each day in India, it is utterly repugnant that the UK, Germany and others want to put the interests of the billionaire owners of Big Pharma ahead of the desperate needs of millions,” said Chow.
The nine new billionaires, according to the People’s Vaccine Alliance, are (all figures in US$):
- Stéphane Bancel – Moderna’s CEO (worth $4.3 billion)
- Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech (worth $4 billion)
- Timothy Springer – an immunologist and founding investor of Moderna (worth $2.2bn)
- Noubar Afeyan – Modernas Chairman (worth $1.9 billion)
- Juan Lopez-Belmonte – Chairman of ROVI, a company with a deal to manufacture and package the Moderna vaccine (worth $1.8 billion)
- Robert Langer – a scientist and founding investor in Moderna (worth $1.6 billion)
- Zhu Tao co-founder and chief scientific officer at CanSino Biologics (worth $1.3 billion)
- Qiu Dongxu, co-founder and senior vice president at CanSino Biologics (worth $1.2)
- Mao Huihua, also co-founder and senior vice president at CanSino Biologics (worth $1 billion).
“These billionaires are the human face of the huge profits many pharmaceutical corporations are making from the monopoly they hold on these vaccines,” said Anna Marriott, Oxfam health policy manager.
“These vaccines were funded by public money and should be first and foremost a global public good, not a private profit opportunity. We need to urgently end these monopolies so that we can scale up vaccine production, drive down prices and vaccinate the world.”
Some of the vaccine makers, including Pfizer, have pledged to donate billions of doses to poorer countries. Moderna has had more than US$ billion in taxpayer funding, and while it’s previously said it wouldn’t enforce patents for the duration of the pandemic, Global Justice Now says it hasn’t shared the technology.
Eight existing billionaires with extensive portfolios in big pharma have increased their wealth by a combined US$32 billion, the People’s Vaccine Alliance added.
The data was sourced from the annual Forbes Rich List.