In latest research, Oxfam International disclosed that the coronavirus pandemic gave rise to 40 new pharmaceutical billionaires. It alleged that giants like Pfizer and Moderna are making a profit of $1,000 at every point from their monopoly control over the vaccines during the Covid-19 vaccines. Moreover, it stated that governments are being charged by these governments up to 24 times over the potential cost of generic production.
On a new brief “Profiting from Pain” on Monday, May 23, Oxfam revealed how for every billionaire made at this time, nearly a million could be possibly pushed into serious poverty. The brief is published as the World Economic Forum takes place for the first time since the pandemic commenced.
Gabriela Bucher, the Executive Director of Oxfam International stated how the wealthy are coming in Davos celebrating the immense increase in their fortunes. The pandemic along with significant increase in prices of food and energy proved to be a plus point for them.
According to the brief, reportedly 573 people emerged as new billionaires at this time, at the rate of one coming up every 30 hours. Moreover, Oxfam expects 2022 to witness 263 million more people to land up in extreme poverty at a million people every 33 million. The wealth of billionaire have evidently increased more in first two years of the pandemic than in 23 years in total. Currently, the cumulative wealth of the billionaires is equivalent on 13.9% of global GDP.
“Billionaires’ fortunes have not increased because they are now smarter or working harder. Workers are working harder, for less pay and in worse conditions. The super-rich have rigged the system with impunity for decades and they are now reaping the benefits. “
Bucher went on to note that while billionaires seized the wealth through privatisation and monopolies, millions on the other side struggled as they skipped meals and fell behind on basic necessities. Clearly, this wide inequality is ‘breaking the bonds’ holding humanity together as a whole.
Additionally, Oxfam’s research shows corporations in food, pharmaceutical and energy fields are recording immensely high profits. Billionaires in these sectors have seen a rise of $453 in the total fortunes in the last of couple of years. On the other hand, countries like Sudan and Sri Lanka are posting record high food prices, with 60% of low income countries almost on the verge debt distress. With the rising inflation everywhere, increase in prices are somewhat breaking low wage workers with the pre-existing issues post the pandemic.