WASHINGTON (March 3, 2020) – President Trump met with pharmaceutical corporate executives today about finding a vaccine and treatment for the COVID-19 coronavirus, which is approaching 90,000 infections worldwide and has killed six people in the United States.
Despite calls from dozens of lawmakers for the Trump administration to prevent Pharma companies from hiking up the cost of a potential vaccine, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, a former drug executive himself, refused to guarantee an affordable coronavirus vaccine last week.
Statement from Margarida Jorge, Campaign Director, Lower Drug Prices Now:
“The government has pledged to cover nearly all the research, development and manufacturing costs for promising coronavirus treatments. That’s our taxpayer dollars at work. It’s unacceptable that Health and Human Services Secretary Azar refuses to promise American families an affordable vaccine.
“Time and again we’ve seen drug corporations use their monopoly power to set prices sky high, putting their profits before public health. That’s why when it comes to finding a coronavirus vaccine, the Trump Administration should reject business as usual.
“Instead of giving these drug corporations monopoly power to set the price for lifesaving drugs, we need clear guard rails on any licensing agreement to ensure affordable access for all who need the vaccine.
“Big Pharma may not care about public health, but elected officials and government agencies should. The world needs a coronavirus vaccine now – one that is accessible to everyone and prioritizes saving lives over Big Pharma’s bottom line.”