Athletes, politicians, and other wealthy or well-connected people have managed to get special treatment throughout the pandemic, including preferential access to testing and unapproved therapies. Early access to coronavirus vaccines is likely to be no different, medical experts and ethicists told STAT. It could happen in any number of ways, they said: fudging the definition of “essential workers” or “high-risk” conditions, lobbying by influential industries, physicians caving to pressure to keep their patients happy, and even through outright bribery or theft.
The worst attempts to nefariously procure a vaccine may come a few months into distribution, once vaccines are available that don’t require ultra-cold storage and local pharmacies and physician practices get allotments. “There absolutely will be a black market,” said bioethicist Arthur Caplan of New York University. “Anything that’s seen as lifesaving, life-preserving, and that’s in short supply creates black markets.”
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Friday, December 4, 2020
COVID, Inequality, and Black Markets
Olivia Goldhill and Nicholas St. Fleur at STAT: