Biopharmaceuticals, Financialization & Nationalism in the Age of COVID-19

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Biopharmaceuticals, Pharmaceutical Industry, COVID-19 Treatments, Canada


Touting it as Canada’s contribution to the global fight against SARS-CoV-2, last November the federal government bought US$32.5 million worth of bamlanivimab, a COVID-19 therapeutic. With only weak evidence of effectiveness, the therapeutic has been a “flop” thus far, raising the question of whether securing access to an effective treatment against COVID-19 was really the objective driving its development.

A deeper look into the deals and decisions suggests otherwise, illustrating the financialized state of drug development as well as the systemic failure of the nation-state, through publicly funded institutions, to counter that reality even at the height of COVID-19.