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.
On Sunday, Reuters reported that Operation Warp Speed candidate Moderna received an additional $472 million in funding from BARDA to develop its potential COVID vaccine. Following the announcement, Moderna saw shares increase 11.3% in premarket trading on Monday. US taxpayers total funding for the experimental vaccine of Moderna is now $955 million.
These Executive Orders are not about policy, they’re about politics. The only reason for President Trump’s rekindled interest in lowering drug prices is his dwindling poll numbers, and realization that our country’s senior citizens are abandoning him thanks to his bungled handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Statement from Margarida Jorge, campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now, on news that U.S. will pay $2 billion for Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine doses.
“Drug corporations are masterful at marketing. They recognize the current race for a COVID vaccine as a fantastic opportunity for free PR to redeem some of their tarnished brands. We expect in today’s subcommittee hearing that officials from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna and Pfizer will show up to position their companies as good-faith philanthropists wanting to save the day with a COVID vaccine. But the public knows there’s only one thing that motivates Big Pharma: more profits.”
Ahead of tomorrow’s House E&C Oversight subcommittee hearing Lower Drug Prices Now produced this memo with background on Operation Warp Speed, and the five drug corporations leading testifying at tomorrow’s hearing.
“The IG’s decision is extremely disappointing. Mr. Slaoui’s position is core to the government’s vaccine development efforts, and he should be just as accountable to the American people as any other government official. This administration has demonstrated a clear disregard for ethics and a willingness to funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to their Pharma corporate cronies without transparency or accountability.”