Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Washington – Today, the Lower Drug Prices Now coalition hosted a tele-town hall featuring Wisconsin Representative Gwen Moore, former Representative Donna Edwards, Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, and Gary Mitchell, President of the Wisconsin Alliance of Retired Americans to demand affordable COVID drugs and accountability for drug corporations that are profiteering off of the coronavirus pandemic.
The town hall comes as multiple drug corporations with a history of price gouging race to develop treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. Yesterday, President Trump announced a $350 million contract with pharmaceutical manufacturer Phlow, whose CEO has a history of profiteering off of pandemics. It was also revealed that the White House’s new “therapeutics czar” owned more than $12 million in Moderna stocks, a corporation that has received nearly half a billion dollars in taxpayer funds for its COVID vaccine development. Other major drug corporations, including Johnson & Johnson and Gilead, have long records of using crises to gouge patients for necessary medicines.
“During this pandemic, it is more critical than ever that we hold pharmaceutical companies accountable so they don’t put profits over the needs of people and communities,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-4). “The implications of the skyrocketing price of medicine is now a matter that concerns everyone, not just the individuals and families struggling to afford the medicines they need having to make unconscionable choices, heart-wrenching. This pandemic underscores the urgency to reign in big pharma and finally align new drug development with what’s best for people. The bottom line is that COVID testing, treatment and vaccines must be affordable and accessible to all – as should all life-saving treatments.”
“Every day that goes by, more corruption and greed from Big Pharma is revealed, all while the Trump White House shovels our taxpayer dollars over to them, no strings attached,” said Margarida Jorge, campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now. “Many of these drug corporations have long records of using their monopoly power to hike prices in the middle of crises, leaving patients unable to access the life-saving medicines they need. Congress must demand that these vaccines and treatments be sold at low or no cost, or Americans will get the short changed on our investments.”
“From hospitals to grocery stores and meat plants, it’s the Frontline workers, the heroes, who are keeping us all healthy and fed,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. “The only way to defeat this pandemic is to ensure Covid treatments and vaccines are affordable for them and for all of us. And that means Congress needs to take immediate action to hold Big Pharma accountable.”
“Two years ago I had a lung transplant, and now I take 16 different medications. Some of my medications are very specialized and I worry that supplies may run out,” said Gary Mitchell, President of the Wisconsin Alliance of Retired Americans. “I also fear that profiteers will take advantage of this crisis.”
Listen to the recording here.
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Lower Drug Prices Now is a national coalition of nearly 60 social, racial and economic justice organizations with members in all fifty states. We are committed to transformative, systemic and bold reforms to ensure everyone has access to affordable medicines — no matter where they live, what they look like or how much money they have. Learn more at www.lowerdrugpricesnow.org and follow us on Twitter @peopleb4pharma.