The darkness behind the purchase of vaccines by Latin American governments

Feb 18, 2022 | New

Our Director, Camilo Enciso, took part in a conversation alongside the international organizations Open Contracting Partnership and Transparency Mexicana, about “Fundamental transparency in vaccine contracts and what it means for public health.” Also invited were Dalia Ferreira, President of the International Transparency Council, and Nelly Luna, Co-Founder and General Editor of Peru’s Ojo Público (‘Public Eye’).

In the course of the conversation, the participating experts criticized the lack of justification for the secrecy that was evident during the negotiations between certain Latin American governments and the pharmaceutical companies for the purchase of vaccines against Covid-19. Let’s not forget the confidentiality clauses that were included, that meant that some governments refused to publish these contracts.

Oscar Hernández, moderator and representative of Open Contracting, began the discussion stating that “transparency when it comes to the public purchase of vaccines is a minimum requirement to ensure the effectiveness of the vaccination plan”.

Dalia Ferreira, went on to argue that “there was never justification for the secrecy and confidentiality of Covid contracts in terms of what is bought and how it is bought.”

Eduardo Bohórquez, also from Transparencia Mexicana, said that “we must stop talking about a rule of law, and talk about a rule of law for all.” He even pointed out that government agendas should be focused on (i) stopping the emergency, (ii) introducing measures whereby companies are jointly responsible for human rights and (iii) reinforcing democratic control and power.

Nelly Luna, referred to the essential role played by journalism as a means of controlling the power of pharmaceutical companies.

And Camilo Enciso, our Director, commented that he has identified a conscious effort to hinder access to public information about public contracting. “It is no longer an issue of vaccines, but a structural violation, which prevents us from exercising democratic control over power,” he said.

See the full conversation here: