WASHINGTON (March 20, 2020) – Since the start of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. the Lower Drug Prices Now Coalition has been sounding the alarm about potential Big Pharma price gouging if President Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Azar fail to enact price control measures that ensure affordability.
Now it has been uncovered that Rising Pharmaceuticals, a New Jersey-based company and manufacturer of chloroquine — an antimalarial and promising treatment for COVID19 touted by President Donald Trump – raised the price of the drug by almost 100 percent in January, as the virus was causing havoc across China and spreading quickly across the region.
Despite calls from dozens of lawmakers to block drug corporations from hiking up the price of a potential vaccine, the Trump Administration Administration has refused to enact price controls that will ensure a coronavirus vaccine is accessible and affordable.
Statement from Margarida Jorge, Campaign Director, Lower Drug Prices Now:
“What more evidence does the Trump administration need? We cannot trust Big Pharma to make a potential coronavirus vaccine or treatment affordable – not when they’re already finding ways to profiteer off this pandemic.
“We’ve seen this before from drug corporations spiking the prices of insulin, Hepatitis C treatments and other lifesaving medicines to up their profits – just like Rising Pharmaceuticals did with chloroquine in January. While Health and Human Services Secretary Azar refuses to promise American families an affordable coronavirus vaccine, thousands of people are falling ill and dying from COVID-19.
“Instead of granting an exclusive patent that will give Big Pharma monopoly power to set prices, the Department of Health and Human Services should grant a limited license and use policy safeguards to ensure affordable access to any potential coronavirus vaccine and treatments.
“Everyone knows Big Pharma doesn’t care about public health. But elected officials and government agencies should–it’s their job to intervene to make vaccines and treatments developed with massive taxpayer investments affordable to everyone, not to protect prescription drug corporations’ power to price gouge.”