June 24, 2020 Press Releases

New Video Makes Case For Affordable COVID-19 Drugs

WASHINGTON, DC –– In a video released today, Patients For Affordable Drugs juxtaposes the history of polio vaccine development in the 1950s with the current race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. While polio vaccine inventor Jonas Salk refused to profit off of his life-saving creation, modern day pharmaceutical companies stand to reap huge profits on COVID-19 vaccines –– on the backs of American taxpayers.

The video centers around Jonas Salk’s famous answer when asked to whom the vaccine belongs: ‘Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”

Taxpayers have given more than $2 billion to corporations working to develop COVID-19 vaccines. But those government grants have been made with no guardrails in place to ensure vaccines come to market at a reasonable price. One CEO whose company received $483 million in federal funding recently said he sees the taxpayer-funded vaccine as a “blockbuster commercial opportunity.”

“I received the polio vaccine for free at my elementary school. I am grateful Dr. Salk knew it was unethical to profit unfairly off of the greatest public health crisis of his era,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs. “The same is true of COVID-19 today. On behalf of patients and all Americans, we will continue to insist on transparency and fair prices for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and that we put public health ahead of private profit.”

You can watch the video here and read the transcript below.

In a series of blogs and now this video, Patients For Affordable Drugs has been highlighting taxpayer investment in research and development for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and calling for future drugs to come to market at a fair price. Our blog series: examined the relationship between Wall Street and pharma; detailed how U.S. taxpayers are fueling Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine with nearly a half billion dollars; explained why Johnson & Johnson’s claims of selling a not-for-profit COVID-19 vaccine are more than a little misleading; tracked taxpayer funding flowing to drug companies for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments; and demonstrated how Big Pharma only became interested in investing in vaccine development after it realized it could reap large profits. Patients For Affordable Drugs does not accept contributions from any organizations that profit from the development or distribution of prescription drugs.


To overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, we desperately need a vaccine.

It’s time to look to history.

When Jonas Salk discovered the vaccine for polio, he didn’t sell it off to the highest bidding pharmaceutical corporation to turn a profit.

Text on screen: It’s not about profit.

Edward R. Murrow: “Who owns the patent on this vaccine?

Jonas Salk: “Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. This is… could you patent the sun?”

American taxpayers are funding potential COVID-19 vaccines.

It’s our money behind the science.

Join the movement.

Tell Big Pharma: We won’t let you cash in on a crisis.

Text on screen: Join the fight.



Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.