Washington, DC – Today, Patients Over Pharma reacted to the news that Operation Warp Speed, the Trump Administration’s secretive COVID-vaccine and treatment development program, has awarded $2.1 billion to GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur “for development including clinical trials, manufacturing, scale-up and delivery of its vaccine.” It is the biggest investment through Operation Warp Speed to date. Operation Warp Speed’s top scientist, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, worked at GlaxoSmithKline for nearly three decades and refused to divest from his holdings in the company when he was brought on board as a contractor and exempted from standard ethics and disclosure regulations.
“People shouldn’t have to wonder if federal investments are going where they are needed most to develop a successful vaccine or if they are being handed out to boost the personal financial holdings of government contractors or as favors to friends of the Administration,” said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Patients Over Pharma. “There is absolutely no reason why Operation Warp Speed can’t operate quickly and effectively while adhering to standard ethics and disclosure rules that protect taxpayers and patients.”
Earlier this month Patients Over Pharma released a report marking two months since the formal launch of the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed (OWS) on May 15, 2020. The report laid out the significant connections between OWS leadership and major drug companies, the conflicts of interest that have emerged as multi-billion-dollar decisions have been made, and what we know about the drug companies that have received billions in taxpayer dollars handed out so far.
Patients Over Pharma also recently reiterated its call for transparency from the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine and treatment development program to ensure that political pressure isn’t once again impacting the government’s COVID-19 response efforts.
Last month, Patients Over Pharma called on Congress to mandate that an independent patient advocate be appointed to audit and provide continued oversight of the Trump Administration’s ‘Operation Warp Speed’ COVID-19 vaccine and treatment development program.
And following reporting that the HHS refused to confirm whether the Trump Administration secured any assurances regarding vaccine pricing from drug companies receiving the over $2 billion in federal vaccine development investments, Patients Over Pharma filed Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking the details of any vaccine development-related contracts between drug companies and HHS, including the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Assistant Secretary forPreparedness and Response (ASPR).
Dr. Slaoui’s financial stake in GlaxoSmithKline
Slaoui Held Just Under $10 Million In Stock In GlaxoSmithKline As Of May 2020. “Dr. Slaoui, 60, has spent his career developing vaccines and biotechnology businesses, and he has the investments and board seats to prove it. He still holds just under $10 million in GlaxoSmithKline stock and remains a partner in Medicxi, a venture capital firm that specializes in investing in biotech concerns, with several companies engaged in the global race to develop treatments or vaccines to stanch the coronavirus pandemic. GSK and Sanofi have become partners in creating a vaccine candidate against the coronavirus.” [New York Times, 5/20/20]
Slaoui Refused To Divest From GSK As A Condition Of Joining Operation Warp Speed. “He said he told administration officials that he did not want to sell his company stock. ‘I have worked for 29 years for GSK,’ Dr. Slaoui said. ‘I have never sold a single share of any company in my life. This is my retirement. What I said regarding the GSK shares, I said I cannot take the job if I have to sell them.’” [New York Times, 5/20/20]
Additional background on Operation Warp Speed
July 15: NEW REPORT – Operation Warp Speed at Two Months: $4 Billion for Drug Companies, Zero Assurances for Patients and Taxpayers
June 25: “New Vaccine Report Highlights Trump Administration’s Drug Company Connections, Need for Vaccine Program Transparency”
June 24: “As Dr. Fauci Expresses Hope for Vaccine By End of Year, Patients Need Assurances That Trump Pressure Won’t Corrupt Development Process”
June 11: “Leading Drug Pricing and Watchdog Organizations Demand Information from Operation Warp Speed Finalists on COVID Vaccine Pricing”
June 8: “Watchdog Calls for Independent Patient Advocate to Audit ‘Operation Warp Speed’”
May 29: “COVID-19: Watchdog Group Files Freedom of Information Requests Following New Warning Signs on Vaccine Pricing”
May 26: “Lack of Transparency, Conflicts of Interest Surround Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” Vaccine Development Program”
May 21: “CONFIRMED: Trump’s ‘Vaccine Czar’ Given Full Ethics/Public Disclosure Exemption, Refuses to Divest from Drug Companies Standing to Make Billions from His Federal Role”
May 20: “Watchdog Group to Azar: Disclose Details of Former Pharma Exec’s “Operation Warp Speed” Appointment”
May 19: “NEW ANALYSIS: Trump’s New ‘Vaccine Czar’ Stands to Receive Up To $450K Tax Break Through Divestment Delay”
May 18: “BREAKING: Drug Company Shows Promising Results on Taxpayer-Funded Vaccine”
May 15: BACKGROUND: “Operation Warp Speed” Leadership and Big Pharma”
May 13: SHOCKER: Another Pharma Executive Reported to Be Headed Into Trump Administration”