WASHINGTON (July 20, 2020) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today called on the members of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to ask tough questions of drug companies testifying on coronavirus vaccines tomorrow.
Overpaid pharmaceutical company executives from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna and Pfizer will be testifying at a hearing “Pathway to a Vaccine: Efforts to Develop a Safe, Effective and Accessible COVID-19 Vaccine” on Tuesday, July 21 (10:00 EDT, via Cisco Webex online video conferencing) on potential vaccines for the coronavirus. So far, the U.S. taxpayer has spent over $6 billion in research subsidies for these firms, with little guarantee that the U.S. taxpayer will share in the ownership of the patents arising from the research.
“In the U.S., one out of three Americans can’t afford their prescription drugs. Around the world 10 million people die annually because they can’t afford their medicines. Unless drug companies and research universities patent and license publicly financed discoveries in a more reasonable and socially responsible manner, even more will die from this coronavirus pandemic and other life-threatening infectious diseases,” said John Hassell, national director of advocacy for AHF.
AHF urges the committee to ask these questions:
- What measures are each of your corporations taking to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines across the globe, regardless of nationality, race or wealth?
- Has your corporation conditioned receipt of government support on the U.S. restricting its rights to ensure competition and affordability?
- Has your corporation conditioned receipt of a license relating to a COVID-19 vaccine candidate on such a license being exclusive?
- How will you ensure the price of vaccines you are helping to develop does not inhibit access for anyone throughout the world, and does not otherwise inhibit a country’s COVID-19 response by drawing scarce resources away from other urgent public health priorities?
- Will your corporation publicly disclose detailed R&D and manufacturing costs?
- Will your corporation commit to sharing technologies it owns or has been licensed, data, know-how and other information necessary to produce the vaccine candidate or candidates you are helping to develop with the World Health Organization COVID-19 Technology Access Pool? If not, why?