Statement from Margarida Jorge, campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now, on news that Pfizer will make it’s COVID vaccine “free” for all Americans:
“It’s great news for everyone that Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine appears to be highly effective. But the only way we’re going to beat COVID is for lawmakers to guarantee that everyone everywhere can get affordable access to the medicine. A promise from Pfizer that their vaccine will be made available at no cost is nothing but a PR ploy–especially given how much the drug has already cost taxpayers.
American taxpayers have already paid Pfizer nearly $2 billion to develop and secure 100 million doses of the new vaccine, that’s more than any other drug corporation except one. Moreover, Pfizer has received plenty of additional public money through $1 billion in tax breaks from the Trump-McConnell tax law, and another half billion from funding from Germany. After this amount of taxpayer subsidies for a vaccine, no one should have to depend on a promise from the corporation to get medicines that would not exist without our contributions.
Instead, Congress should pass the MMAPPP Act, which would ensure that neither Pfizer nor any other drug corporation receiving public money to develop COVID vaccines and therapeutics will have monopoly control to charge any price they want. Rather, government officials should set reasonable prices based on transparent information about what it costs to manufacture, market and distribute the drugs. After years of letting the drug corporations set and keep prices high on all kinds of medicines from insulin to EPI-pens, we should know that we can’t trust the drug corporations to put our health over their profit. We need Congress to end monopoly control over drug prices now.”