Pharmaceutical Technology, GlobalData Healthcare – 7/16/20
Margarida Jorge, campaign director, Lower Drug Prices Now, was more forthright. “This White House seems to have an open spigot of taxpayer dollars going to drug corporations that profiteer off of pandemics,” she commented. “They’re gearing up to give the largest award in history to a corporate executive who quintupled the price of naloxone in the middle of the opioid epidemic. Yet again, the administration is handing over taxpayer dollars away to a drug corporation with no strings attached and no guarantee that we’ll get affordable access to the medicines developed with our money.”
Salon – 7/16/20
“We oppose this kind of corruption and blatant conflict of interest,” said the healthcare coalition Lower Drug Prices Now in response to the ruling.
“The ruling by the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) came in response to an ethics complaint filed in May by Public Citizen and Lower Drug Prices Now.”
STAT – 7/16/20
“He should be just as accountable to the American people as any other government official,” Margarda Jorge, who heads the advocacy group Lower Drug Prices Now.
Kaiser Health News – 7/15/20
Washington Post – 7/15/20
Monday’s ruling by the Office of Inspector General came in response to a complaint filed by the advocacy groups Public Citizen and Lower Drug Prices Now.
Public Citizen and Lower Drug Prices Now contend there is no basis in law for Slaoui to run Operation Warp Speed without being a full-time government employee or a “special government employee,” a designation that permits the government to tap outside people with unique expertise for up to 130 days.
New York Times, Noah Weiland – 7/15/20
“The basic idea that he’s in a really privileged position with lots of resources to command and that he has a personal financial stake in the industry is really challenging,” said Margarida Jorge, the campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now. “Everyone can appreciate that Slaoui has expertise in the development of vaccines, but expertise and ethics should not be mutually exclusive.”
Ms. Jorge said that her organization and other watchdog groups were planning to meet Wednesday afternoon to discuss new ways to challenge Dr. Slaoui’s status.
POLITICO Pulse – 7/14/20
HHS INSPECTOR GENERAL DISMISSES COMPLAINT AGAINST VACCINE ADVISER — The government watchdog rejected a claim brought by Public Citizen and Lower Drug Prices Now over the appointment of Moncef Slaoui to advise Operation Warp Speed. The groups had argued that Slaoui, who is serving as a private contractor, should be viewed as a political appointee, which would open him up to new disclosures and protections against conflict of interest.
Before being named to his Operation Warp Speed role, Slaoui was serving on the board of Moderna, the manufacturer of a leading vaccine candidate, and had other financial holdings flagged as conflicts by Public Citizen and Lower Drug Prices Now.