Big Tobacco Funding Opposition to Global Covid Vaccine Access

Source: In These Times
by Sarah Lazare

“Major tobacco companies including British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International are funding an anti-regulatory, libertarian-leaning organization, Consumer Choice Center (CCC), that is working to restrict global Covid-19 vaccine access. CCC is mobilizing to defeat a proposal at the World Trade Organization to suspend intellectual property rules related to Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. The WTO proposal is aimed at expanding global access to life-saving Covid-19 products, and reversing staggering international inequities. By funding its opposition, critics say the tobacco industry is undermining public health, which will have impacts not only during this pandemic  —  but the next one. The CCC supports a broad array of deregulatory measures, and the tobacco industry is, famously, a champion of deregulation. So the industry’s funding of the organization could be motivated by other policy priorities. But the tobacco industry does have an interest in opposing any loosening of global intellectual property rules.” (06/11/22)