Last July, SOMO’s research on the tax avoidance constructions of covid vaccine producer Moderna revealed that the pharma giant was funnelling its profits via a subsidiary in Switzerland and its parent company in the US state of Delaware.
“A disgrace”, Vincent Kiezebrink, researcher at SOMO, calls it. “As a society, we pay triple: we publicly fund research into vaccine development, pay inflated prices for the purchase of those vaccines, and then Moderna uses tax structures to avoid corporate tax as well.”
This was also observed by others. After publication, Kiezebrink was approached by the European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee, which is working on a motion for transparency on public procurement of the EU on e.g. covid vaccines. The report became important evidence for the necessity of such a motion. At the moment, there is no parliamentary control over this type of European contracts. The motion will soon be submitted to the European Parliament.
After publication of the research, questions were raised in the European Parliament by Paul Tang, Aurore Lalucq and Miguel Urbán Crespo. The findings also led to questions in the Swiss and Italian parliaments.
For Swiss MEP Stefanie Prezioso, the investigation triggered her to actively join the European ‘Day of Shame’ organised on 13 October during the WTO negotiations on the suspension of patents on covid vaccines within the TRIPS Agreement. The European Union is strongly lobbying against the so-called TRIPS waiver. SOMO was one of the speakers at the conference on this “Day of Shame”.
Summit on intellectual property and access to medicines
Other organisations working on affordable and accessible medicines also knocked on SOMO’s door. Vincent Kiezebrink will present the Moderna study at the second Global Summit on Intellectual Property Rights and Access to Medicines (GSIPA2M), organised by ITPC and Make Medicines Affordable. The summit will take place from 14 to 21 November. You can register via this page.