Last Thursday, The New York Times reported on governments’ secret deals with Big Pharma revealing that both the U.S. and E.U. governments are glad to “absorb some or all of the risk” to encourage for-profit drug companies to produce vaccines. “The United States, for example, committed up to $1.6 billion in up-front money to help the Maryland-based company Novavax develop its coronavirus vaccine.”
The list goes on of how politicians take citizens’ tax dollars and give the money to big drug companies to increase their bottom line profits: “The Massachusetts biotech company Moderna not only used government-developed technology as the foundation of its vaccine, it also received about $1 billion in government grants to develop the drug,” The Times wrote.
Your Money, Our Profits
But citizens don’t share in the profits, as the government allows the drug companies to have complete ownership of their patents. One contract that got exposed stated the company “shall be entitled to exclusively exploit any such property rights.”
There have been attempts by countries such as India and South Africa, which have high percentages of poverty levels, to loosen the grip of giant, for-profit drug companies so more reasonably-priced, generic drug makers can produce vaccines. But strong opposition by U.S. and European governments has squashed any attempt to offer lower-priced vaccines.
One way the big drug companies keep their profit motives from public view is by having the price per dose it plans to charge erased in any version of the contract that can get into public view. According to The New York Times report, “Some drug companies have included clauses in their supply contracts that allow them to suspend deliveries if countries reveal the price.”
Thanks to a few leaks of these contracts, it was revealed just how greedy huge drug companies producing the coronavirus vaccines are. In one instance, the European Commission was charged just over two dollars for vaccine doses from AstraZeneca compared to more than double that amount, over five dollars per dose, charged to South Africa, according to a report from Reuters on 21 January.
Bank Gets in On the Take
In addition to major drug companies profiting royally from favorable government contracts and hiding the profits through secrecy agreements, some banks are profiting nicely from vaccine development. BioNTech, the German biotechnology company that partnered with Pfizer on one of the COVID-19 vaccines now in circulation, received a $100 million loan from the European Investment Bank.
Celebrating the investment, an investment officer for the bank commented,
“It really doesn’t get any better than this. The most we can contribute to the fight against COVID is to help companies, which are developing new vaccines, treatments, or diagnostic solutions. We did everything we could to help make this vaccine happen.”
He didn’t mention that his bank, according to The New York Times, is in line to profit handsomely from the loan:
“In addition to the interest on the loan, the European bank will receive up to $25 million in vaccine profits, according to a redacted version of the contract that BioNTech filed with securities regulators.”
When this leaked, a bank spokesperson defended the profit arrangement as a proper reward for the risk involved in financing the vaccine project.
Offering a different opinion, Zain Rizvi, who works with the advocacy group Public Citizen, emphasized that when governments and banks work on the same side of a deal with drug companies, there’s inevitable overpricing: “Governments are creating artificial scarcity. When the public funds' knowledge that is required to end a pandemic, it shouldn’t be kept a secret.”
TRENDPOST: In America, the “Land of the Free,” the game is rigged. Morons and imbeciles call the money special interests give to politicians running for office “campaign contributions.”
Mature adults call them bribes and payoffs. That’s what they are and, across the spectrum, from the chemical industry to junk food processors, to drug dealers, i.e. Big Pharma to the Wall Street Gang, etc., money talks.
On the drug front, according to the JAMA Internal Medicine report, “Lobbying Expenditures and Campaign Contributions by the Pharmaceutical and Health Product Industry in the United States, 1999-2018,” money does the talking.
Their observational study, which analyzed publicly available data on campaign contributions and lobbying in the U.S. during those years, found that:
“The pharmaceutical and health product industry spent $4.7 billion, an average of $233 million per year, on lobbying the US federal government; $414 million on contributions to presidential and congressional electoral candidates, national party committees, and outside spending groups; and $877 million on contributions to state candidates and committees. Contributions were targeted at senior legislators in Congress involved in drafting health care laws and state committees that opposed or supported key referenda on drug pricing and regulation.”
Yes, “money talks, bullshit walks,” and it is money, not democracy, that rules America and most nations on earth.
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