Published on
by

Democrats Call on White House to Ensure Any Coronavirus Vaccine Is Not Profit-Making Venture for Big Pharma

"We cannot allow Big Pharma to price gouge the fruits of Americans investments."

Lawmakers are asking the Trump administration to think of the nation's health, not Big Pharma.

Lawmakers are asking the Trump administration to think of the nation's health, not Big Pharma.  (Photo: AP)

Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky led 45 of her colleagues in demanding in a letter to President Donald Trump Thursday that any vaccine developed by the federal government for the coronavirus strain that broke out in December in China be kept "accessible and affordable" and not used as a source of profit for Big Pharma. 

"Because of the millions YOU have invested into federal coronavirus research, a vaccine could be in initial clinical trials within 3 months," tweeted Schakowsky. "We cannot allow #BigPharma to price gouge the fruits of Americans' investments."

In their letter, Schakowsky and her colleagues express their concerns over licensing of the vaccine to pharmaceutical companies, a move that could jeopardize access to the potentially life-saving treatment. 

"We urge the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) not to provide an exclusive license to any private manufacturer for a coronavirus vaccine or treatment in any government grants, contracts, or licensing arrangements," the members say in the letter.

"Providing exclusive monopoly rights could result in an expensive medicine that is inaccessible, wasting public resources and putting public health at risk in the United States and around the globe," the letter continues. "If HHS or any other federal agency moves forward with such a proposal, we urge you to instead issue a limited license and implement requirements that a vaccine or treatment be made available at an affordable price."

As Common Dreams reported on February 13, the potential for a worldwide pandemic has countries around the world working together to contain the outbreak. While the rate of infection has slowed, cases worldwide jumped by around 15,000 in the last week to roughly 75,000—mostly concentrated in mainland China. 

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

Never Miss a Beat.

Get our best delivered to your inbox.

Progressives applauded the letter. 

"Coronavirus vaccines and treatments must be made available to all—not used by #BigPharma as yet another opportunity to profit at patients' expense," said advocacy group Social Security Works.

In a tweet, Congressional pressure group Indivisible said the organization was "proud" to stand alongside Schakowsky and her colleagues.

"Medicines, like the coronavirus vaccine, that are developed with public money should benefit public health, not create private profit for Big Pharma," the group said. 

Trade union the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees praised the 46 lawmaker signatories for making a point to ask about the role of public investment in the vaccine's development. 

"Why should the federal government give monopoly rights to the drug corporations for the coronavirus vaccine currently being developed with taxpayer dollars?" the union tweeted. "Glad some folks in Congress are asking that question."

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news outlet. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:



Share This Article