|WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new analysis by Patients For Affordable Drugs found that in one week in March, U.S. taxpayers gave more than $700 million to just three drug companies for research and development into COVID-19 vaccines and treatment. Today’s review — the first in a three-part series that will examine taxpayer investment into COVID-19 — found that from March 20-27, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) awarded Johnson & Johnson, Regeneron, and Genentech a collective $721 million in government funding for COVID-19 research, vaccines, and treatments.
David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs, and Ben Wakana, the group’s executive director, argue that because taxpayers are investing extraordinary amounts to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, that investment must be accounted for. Taxpayers must have a role when the time comes to set a price for vaccines and treatments.
“Drug corporations aren’t acting heroically — they are doing their jobs. Taking hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers in order to manufacture a vaccine and treatments that can yield billions of dollars in profits,” Mitchell and Wakana write. “The real heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic won’t be executives in corner offices. They’ll be doctors and nurses, grocery store workers, and the U.S. taxpayers whose tax dollars funded the life-saving vaccines and treatments.”
Next week, Patients For Affordable Drugs will examine pharma’s history of deep disinterest in combating infectious diseases, and why drug corporations are suddenly interested in working toward COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs. Patients For Affordable Drugs does not accept contributions from any organizations that profit from the development or distribution of prescription drugs.
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