Sen. Grassley Agrees: Legislative Action Needed to Guarantee COVID-19 Vaccine Affordability
“We are glad to hear Senator Grassley agree that, without legislative action, there’s nothing stopping drug companies from profiteering off of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments developed using taxpayer dollars,” said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Patients Over Pharma. “Congress absolutely needs to deliver on the long-delayed comprehensive drug pricing legislation they’ve been promising for years, but there is no reason for Senator Grassley or his colleagues to wait to pass emergency COVID-19 drug affordability legislation to protect patients and help our country get out of this crisis.”
Senator Grassley on the Senate floor: “We’re experiencing a deadly pandemic. The United States is firing on all cylinders to fight it and find a vaccine. But it does us no good if most American’s can’t even afford the vaccine or related treatments.”
Patients Over Pharma has been calling on Congress to pass strong coronavirus drug affordability and anti-profiteering provisions. Soon after the pandemic began, the pharmaceutical industry and their lobbyists not only blocked language that would have prevented drug companies from locking up coronavirus vaccines or treatments with multi-year exclusivity and protection from generic competition, but they actually managed to slip language into the law that prevents the government from intervening when there are concerns about affordability.
Patients Over Pharma has also been shining a spotlight on the lack of transparency and conflicts of interest surrounding President Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” vaccine development program and calling for an independent patient advocate to be appointed to audit and oversee it. President Trump appointed drug company executive Dr. Moncef Slaoui as chief advisor to the program and exempted him from typical financial disclosure and conflict of interest laws, the removal of a top scientist whistleblower, the replacement of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the refusal of HHS to disclose details of the contracts it signed with drug companies.