Groups Opposing Affordable Coronavirus Medicines Fueled by Big Pharma Contributions

WASHINGTON – Groups that opposed congressional principles to make future COVID-19 treatments and vaccines affordable and available for any manufacturer to produce have received millions in contributions from the drug industry in recent years, a new Public Citizen analysis has found.

In early April, congressional progressive leaders announced a set of principles to ensure that everyone will be able to get COVID-19 treatments and a vaccine: manufacturers should not be granted marketing exclusivity, must not be allowed to charge unreasonable prices and must publicly report their expenditures. Nearly 80% of Americans believe the federal government should ensure that a future coronavirus vaccine is affordable.

Despite this popular support, 33 people from 31 organizations recently wrote to Congress to oppose the principles. Public Citizen’s analysis found that of the 31 organizations, at least 15 received funding from the pharmaceutical industry between 2015 and 2019, and these groups collectively received $2.5 million from industry.

The organizations included the American Legislative Exchange Council Action ($532,150), Institute for Policy Innovation ($374,500), Hudson Institute ($300,000) and Consumer Action for a Strong Economy ($195,000.)

“Pharma money, flowing like sewage through Washington, pollutes serious conversation about access to medicines and mires members of Congress who otherwise might stand up to ensure their constituents can get any safe and effective COVID-19 treatment or vaccine that is developed,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program. “Coronavirus treatments and vaccines will be patented by single corporations selling at high prices and limited supply unless our government starts making different choices.”

Read the analysis here.

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