Washington — On Friday, Senator Tammy Baldwin will join a virtual community roundtable hosted by Lower Drug Prices Now to demand action from Congress to ensure that preventative vaccines and treatments for COVID will be safe and affordable for everyone. The coalition along with Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Oxfam, Main Street Alliance, the Alliance for Retired Americans, the AFL-CIO, Souls to the Polls, the American Medical Students Association, and other partners are calling for access to affordable COVID drugs, and an end to Big Pharma’s rampant profiteering off of the coronavirus pandemic.
A trio of watchdog groups are calling for the federal government to publicly release copies of the coronavirus vaccine development contracts signed with pharmaceutical companies that have received federal funding. American Oversight, Accountable Pharma, and Lower Drug Prices Now today filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requesting the release of the contracting records.
The requests ask for the release of written agreements between HHS and DOD and the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi Pasteur, and Novavax. American Oversight and Lower Drug Prices Now have previously submitted six requests related to coronavirus vaccine development (May 6, June 11), only two of which have received responses — both of which were heavily redacted (Moderna, Johnson & Johnson).
Statement from Margarida Jorge, campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now, on the news that the White House released the text of the favored nation Executive Order:
“No one should be fooled by President Trump’s latest charade on drug prices. After three and a half years of endless empty rhetoric, Americans have seen their prescription drug prices go up, not down. This Executive Order is nothing more than another PR stunt intended to distract Americans from the President’s broken promises to seniors and the 200,000 Americans that have died from the coronavirus as a result of his failed COVID response policies. A serious proposal to lower drug prices and take away drug corporations’ monopoly power to charge whatever they want requires coordinated action from Congress–like the Medicare negotiations bill that President Trump rejected last year that included international price indexing. It’s clear that this President is more interested in photo ops than passing laws to take on Big Pharma.”
“It is simply remarkable and beyond dangerous that President Trump has so politicized the vaccine process to the point that drug corporations–the least trusted industry in America in America–are now the messengers on vaccine safety. It is the job of elected officials and government regulators, not corporations, to police safety for consumers. Yet, Donald Trump continues to prioritize his own narrow political goals over the needs of the American people, undermining public health and ignoring his responsibility as President.”
“The only way to beat a global pandemic is to get it under control everywhere, and that means we need vaccines that are safe, affordable and accessible to everyone. Instead of listening to public health experts about how to respond to a global pandemic, President Trump has repeatedly put politics ahead of our health, resulting in over 180,000 deaths and an economy in shambles.”
“Let’s be 100% clear on what is happening here: President Trump is putting his own political agenda and timeline ahead of science, reality and fact so he can create an ‘October Surprise’ and a vaccine before Election Day. Trump is not interested in the people’s health, he is only interested in the health of his re-election campaign. And in politicizing this process, he is putting public health at grave risk.”
“The world that President Trump described last night, one in which he is a populist warrior taking on the big drug corporations on behalf of the American people, does not exist anywhere outside of Trump’s own head.”