Statement from Margarida Jorge, campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now, on news that Biden has asked Vaccine Czar Moncef Slaoui to stay on into his administration:
Americans deserve a clean break from the Trump administration’s botched COVID response that has cost us 350,000 lives to date and bungled everything from testing to the vaccine rollout. Rather than inviting Moncef Slaoui, who has long been a controversial leader at Operation Warp Speed because of ethics conflicts, the Biden administration should stop the revolving door of Big Pharma cronies who undermine public confidence in government agencies and put Pharma profits ahead of public health.
Not only is Moncef Slaoui a former Big Pharma executive, he still holds more than $10 million in GlaxoSmithKline shares. In crisis after crisis, Big Pharma has used its power and influence to price-gouge patients and line the pockets of industry insiders and their own shareholders, including former executives like Slaoui. Any individual with personal financial stake in drug corporations’ profits should not be in a position to lead the government’s response in a public health crisis that will make Big Pharma massive profits. We can’t trust pharmaceutical insiders to put public health over their own self-interest.
President-elect Biden should show his commitment to responding to the COVID crisis with a team that will prioritize America’s health, not pandemic profiteering.