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Politics

Tsipras: Greece Should Pull Out All the Stops to Back Biden on Vaccine IP Waiver

ATHENS — Main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras on Friday repeated a call to the government to back an initiative by U.S. President Joe Biden calling for a waiver on Covid-19 vaccine patents, in a statement to the Greek daily "Efimerida ton Syntakton". He also criticised the response from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on this issue.

"Only Kyriakos Mitsotakis could be capable, for the sake of his image, to downgrade an issue that is crucial for millions of peoples' lives, such as that of vaccine patents, to the ludicrousness of 'these are my principles and if you don't like them….well, I have others,' as Groucho Marx used to say," the main opposition leader commented.

According to Tsipras, when people were dying because big pharma was putting profits first, it made no difference "who said what first…but how the stance of the Biden administration can be made use of, in practice, to save people's lives."

He called on the government to do now "what it has mocked for five months" and "use all means at its disposal so that Europe stops concealing its own responsibility for the current tragedy behind the patents."

"The pandemic is a historic change. The abolition of intellectual property [rights] for the good of the vaccine is also a historic change, a historic change that we have a duty to follow. Because, as Jonas Salk, the man that discovered the vaccine against polio, replied when asked who owned the patent for the vaccine he had discovered: 'Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent'," Tsipras added.

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