We need affordable COVID drugs and to stop pandemic profiteering
No matter where you live, what you look like or what’s in your wallet, everyone gets sick. And all of us should have the medicine we need to lead healthy lives.
This week U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced legislation to ensure that any taxpayer-funded vaccine or treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19) proven to be safe and effective will be accessible, affordable, and available to all individuals.
“The time to end Big Pharma’s business-as-usual is now,” said Margarida Jorge, campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now. “Congress has the power to ensure everyone gets affordable access to the COVID-19 medicines and vaccines we need to stay healthy,
Statement from Margarida Jorge, campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now, on Moderna exposing that its COVID vaccine is 100% taxpayer-funded:
“Moderna just admitted that its covid vaccine is 100% taxpayer-funded, only a week after comfortably stating before Congress that it plans to make a profit on a vaccine the American people have already paid nearly a billion dollars to develop.
Lower Drug Prices Now and Public Citizen File New Complaints to Ensure Vaccine Czar Is Subject to Ethics Rules
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen and Lower Drug Prices Now today filed two additional ethics complaints [here and here] regarding COVID-19 vaccine czar Dr. Moncef Slaoui, following an initial complaint to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in May that resulted in no action.
The Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed has just awarded $2.1 billion — a record amount of taxpayer money — to Sanofi and GSK, pharmaceutical companies working to develop a coronavirus vaccine. The head of Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui, holds $10 million of shares in GSK. Lower Drug Prices Now has filed an ethics complaint for how the Trump Administration has used a loophole to exempt Slaoui from disclosure rules.
No matter where people live, what they look like or what’s in their wallets, at some point everyone is going to get sick and need prescription medicines. Whether it’s a sore throat, high blood pressure or cancer, everyone needs affordable medicine to lead healthy lives.
But today, drug corporations and their powerful Pharma lobbyists are standing in the way of our health and economic security. By jacking up prices to boost profits, they are forcing people to make stark choices – like choosing between medicine and other necessities, or going without treatment, or going into debt or watching loved ones suffer without the drugs they need to get better.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Together, we can change the system to make sure everyone gets access to medicines they can afford. We are a coalition that has come together to fight for transformative, bold reforms through legislative, legal and executive actions at the state and federal level based on these four principles:
It is our government’s responsibility to guarantee that everyone in the United States, no matter where they live, what they look like or how much money they have, can afford the medicines they need to stay healthy and take care of their families. We oppose policies that put medicine out of reach for Americans or that deny or delay access to medicine for people in other countries.
Drug corporations and their lobbyists have rigged the rules of the pharmaceutical industry in order to drive up profits, putting medicines out of reach for millions of people. Their price gouging makes health and economic disparities even worse by putting the greatest pressure on the people who can least afford to bear the brunt of high prices. We must topple the barriers that systematically deny people access to medicines so that no one is left behind.
We must curb drug corporations’ power to extract profits at the expense of people’s health by harnessing the government’s power to improve patients’ lives. This requires a range of concrete steps that re-write the rules to rein in drug corporations’ monopoly power to price gouge; that requires the drug industry to negotiate fair prices with government; and that holds corporations accountable for practices that directly and indirectly keep prices unjustifiably high.
We as taxpayers help foot the bill for a substantial amount of drug research, development and innovation, for drug purchasing through Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veterans Administration and for marketing, legal and patent protections for drug corporations. We must ensure government funding and incentives prioritize medical breakthroughs that most serve the public good rather than those that primarily extend monopolies and increase corporate profits. Everyone wants proven treatments and life-saving innovations, but prescription drugs are useless to people who can’t afford them. We must change the system to make sure everyone can benefit from our shared public investment in new drug research and development by ensuring that medicines are affordable and accessible to everyone.