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Bill Gates calls for COVID-19 meds to go to people who need them, not ‘highest bidder’

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates called for COVID-19 drugs and an eventual vaccine to be made available to countries and people that need them most, not to the “highest bidder,” saying relying on market forces would prolong the deadly pandemic.

“If we just let drugs and vaccines go to the highest bidder, instead of to the people and the places where they are most needed, we’ll have a longer, more unjust, deadlier pandemic,” Gates, a founder of Microsoft, said in a video released on Saturday during a virtual COVID-19 conference organised by the International AIDS Society.

In a speech at this year's International AIDS Society, Bill Gates warns against "market forces" driving the availability of COVID-19 medication.

In a speech at this year’s International AIDS Society, Bill Gates warns against “market forces” driving the availability of COVID-19 medication.Credit:Bloomberg

“We need leaders to make these hard decisions about distributing based on equity, not just on market-driven factors.”

With hundreds of vaccine projects under way and governments in Europe and the United States investing billions of dollars in research, trials and manufacturing, there is concern that richer nations could scoop up promising medicines against the new coronavirus, leaving developing countries empty-handed.

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