News Release

How the Gates Foundation Is Killing Open License Pandemic Remedies

JAMIE LOVE, james.love@keionline.org, @jamie_love

just published in-depth report by Tim Schwab in The Nation focusing on the Gates Foundation states: “James Love, director of the NGO Knowledge Ecology International, says the foundation’s decades of work on vaccines, along with its sprawling financial ties, allowed it to assert influence early in the pandemic.

“’He had enough money and enough presence in the area for a long enough period of time to be positioned as the first mover and the most influential mover. So people just relied upon his people and his institutions,’ says Love, ‘In a pandemic, when there is a vacuum of leadership, people that move fast and seem to know what they’re doing, they just acquire a lot of power. And he did that in this case.’

“Gates’s leadership in the pandemic has been widely, almost universally, praised, with The New York Times calling him a ‘vocal counterweight to President Trump,’ and Madonna making a million-dollar donation to support the foundation’s work. But because Gates is not an elected representative or public official, the details of his far-reaching influence — and finances — have largely eluded public scrutiny.

“’You have an enormous amount of power that affects everyone around the globe, and there should be some accountability, some transparency,’ says Love. … ‘It’s a charity. … [We’re asking], “Can you explain what you’re doing, for example? Can you show us what these contracts look like?” Particularly since they’re using their money to influence policies that involve our money.’

“The Gates Foundation declined requests for interviews and did not respond to detailed questions sent by e-mail, including about its investments in pharmaceutical companies working on Covid.

“Love and other critics say a key role Gates has played in the pandemic has been elevating the pharmaceutical industry — for example, pushing the University of Oxford to deliver its leading Covid-19 vaccine platform into the hands of Big Pharma. The resulting partnership with AstraZeneca had another effect, as Bloomberg and Kaiser Health News recently reported, changing the university’s distribution model from an open-license platform, designed to make its vaccine freely available for any manufacturer, to an exclusive license controlled by AstraZeneca.”

See Love’s blog — recent posts include: “DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] letter to KEI confirming investigation of Moderna for failure to report government funding in patent applications.” In another post, Love writes: “Trump’s Executive Order on international reference pricing is a lot less than promised.” Another posting is about “Senator Durbin’s letters to vaccine manufacturers.”

Schwab, who wrote the recent Nation piece, in August wrote the piece “Journalism’s Gates Keepers” for Columbia Journalism Review about Gates’ influence over a host of media organizations. Earlier this year, Schwab wrote the piece “Bill Gates’s Charity Paradox” for The Nation which documents how the Gates Foundation has given hundreds of millions of dollars to companies it is invested in, including Merck, Unilever and Novartis. It also documents how the Gates family and Foundation’s assets continue to grow, “raising questions about the long-term influence of billionaire philanthropy” in politics.