Statement from Margarida Jorge, campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now, on today’s E&C Oversight Committee Hearing with Covid Vaccine Manufacturers:
“Drug corporations are masterful at marketing. They recognize the current race for a COVID vaccine as a fantastic opportunity for free PR to redeem some of their tarnished brands. We expect in today’s subcommittee hearing that officials from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna and Pfizer will show up to position their companies as good-faith philanthropists wanting to save the day with a COVID vaccine. But the public knows there’s only one thing that motivates Big Pharma: more profits.
Through Operation Warp Speed American taxpayers are investing billions in potential vaccines, but our health and safety clearly aren’t the priority for the industry. Since joining the race to develop a vaccine, these corporations have already profited from the pandemic, watching their stock values skyrocket, and allowing top executives to cash out with millions.
Each of the corporations testifying today – save Moderna, which hasn’t ever brought a product to market – have long histories of price-gouging patients for life-saving drugs. And while the Trump administration continues to funnel billions of taxpayer dollars through undisclosed agreements with these companies, they have done nothing to guarantee that the medicines we pay to develop will be affordable for everyone. Operation Warp Speed is poised to deliver scientific and ethical failures, ignoring established methods of vaccine development in favor of unproven technologies from companies that prioritize their stock values over our health.
Americans are extremely concerned, and for good reason. If lawmakers are serious about protecting public health and beating COVID, they must mandate that the Trump administration disclose their agreements with each of these drug corporations, and intervene to block drug corporations’ monopoly control to charge whatever price they choose for COVID vaccines.”