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Corona profiteers

Abbas El Tarabily

Published: Updated:

Every war has its profiteers, especially those who benefit from war-related trade. In Egypt, war profiteers are not only arms dealers and manufacturers, but also those who make soldiers’ uniforms and food, and even those who sell war remnants as scraps.

In fact, the Wikalat al-Balah neighborhood has become a central scrap market for such remnants. Military wars are the main driver of these profits, with many people creating their fortunes mainly from the arms industry.

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Similarly, there are those who are now getting rich off the pharmaceutical trade.

A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a Vaccine COVID-19 sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. (Reuters)
A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a Vaccine COVID-19 sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. (Reuters)

The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a frenetic race to find a cure or a vaccine. But even before we have a viable cure, many people are profiting from global COVID-19 fears by selling prophylactic items such as soap, hand sanitizer, and face masks.

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Indeed, there are those who are creating a fortune out of fabric scraps used to create the now-mandatory face masks, or from selling highly sought-after drugs, even treatment for dry skin caused by our excessive use of hand sanitizer, among others.

The biggest winners, however, are still the contenders in the race to a COVID-19 cure. The arms industry might be the most profitable in history, but the pharmaceutical industry will dethrone it and reap more benefits from a COVID-19 cure than others have ever made from selling planes, tanks, guns, and uniforms combined.

An Iranian woman wears a mask and face shield in Tehran, Iran October 24, 2020. (Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters)
An Iranian woman wears a mask and face shield in Tehran, Iran October 24, 2020. (Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters)

Big pharma will undoubtedly make billions of dollars in the course of this pandemic. Rumors have even circulated that some countries deliberately spread the pandemic in the first place to gain from producing a cure for it.

The race is still on between pharmaceutical companies to find a treatment, because the first one to produce a vaccine, be it an American or European company, will be the biggest winner.

What matters is to find a cure, at any cost.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, the Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Youm.

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