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Was Trump justified to try to buy the rights to a COVID-19 vaccine?

The American President made his mark on the world in business. Hotels, golfing resorts, universities, casinos, TV production, you name it...So is it any surprise the former reality television star offered a 'large sum' for exclusive rights to the Coronavirus vaccine? In a global economy built on the sale of goods and services, this move was hardly extraordinary. Yet, the pandemic has now reached the furthest corners of our world with hideous effects. Was Trump justified in making his offer?

Healthcare is a privilege

In the US, healthcare is a business. And pharmaceuticals don't come cheap. Why would this change fundamentally simply because the virus extends beyond US borders?

The pharmaceuticals industry is not a charity

Offering $1 billion for the drug is not unheard of. The industry is worth over $340 billion and growing. Drugs are made for profit.

Healthcare is a right

Healthcare is essential to live. And the right to life is enshrined in international law.

Exclusivity would break the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The historic legal document to which all UN member states are bound, commits signatories to uphold and protect the right to life. Limiting access to the cure to a tiny minority would be a flagrant overruling of this law.

World leaders are only responsible for their own citizens

The Americans elected Trump to best represent their interests. He may be a major player on the world stage, but that shouldn't detract from his purpose: to do what's best for US citizens, and no one else.

Trump has no responsibility to the rest of the world

In an ideal world perhaps we'd all do the best for everyone else. Unfortunately, that isn't how politics works, nor world leaders operate. The President's only loyalty is to his citizens, and making sure they're protected is his only job.

Foreign policy has shifted from international co-operation

With US dominance fading, and countries jostling to be the next hegemon, foreign policy is increasingly self-interested. Just look at Brexit - cooperation is fast moving to being a thing of the past.

The German government tried to make a counter-offer

Trump has come under fire, but he's not the only world leader to try to monopolise the drug. Evidence suggests the German government had spoken to the same company about keeping the drug within its borders too.

There are sinister implications to this failed sale

This was about much more than exclusive rights to a drug. The world is in chaos and needs to work together to solve the crisis. Actively deepening divisions hints at a number of unsavoury truths about Trump's real motivations.

There are eugenicist implications

Wanting to save just Americans, and leave other countries to suffer, incurring millions of avoidable foreign deaths? This action smacked troublingly of a 'master race' vision for the future.

There are worrisome social implications

If a country has exclusive rights to a drug, yet believes healthcare is a privilege, the consequences include the creation of a new 'underclass'. Remember survival of the fittest? Such behaviour champions that idea, but on the basis that 'fit' means rich, and 'weak' means poor.
This page was last edited on Friday, 17 Apr 2020 at 11:50 UTC