April 21, 2020 News, Press Releases

Drug Corporations Didn’t Invest in Vaccines Until a Global Pandemic

WASHINGTON, DC — In a new review, Patients For Affordable Drugs examined the drug industry’s historic disinterest in vaccines and treatments for global pandemics like COVID-19. P4AD found that while public health experts have warned of a pandemic for years, drug corporations were uninterested in developing new drugs until it was clear that vaccines and treatments to fight COVID-19 could turn huge profits.

“The truth is the pharmaceutical industry’s top priority isn’t public health; it is out to make the highest possible profit,” write David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs, and Ben Wakana, the group’s executive director. “In the absence of reasonable pricing that accounts for taxpayer investments, the COVID-19 pandemic may provide an opportunity for drug corporations to turn minimal resources and risk into tremendous profits and leave taxpayers and patients footing the bill.”

The piece is the second in a series which outlines the investment U.S. taxpayers have made into COVID-19 treatments. Patients For Affordable Drugs found:

  • Waning Interest: Over the last 50 years, the drug industry’s vaccine research and development pipeline slowed substantially as it invested in drugs to treat chronic illnesses that could lead to repeat customers and blockbuster sales.
  • International Concern: The lack of innovation from drug companies to combat emerging infectious diseases was so concerning that the Gates Foundation and multiple countries created the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation to invest in research for infectious disease vaccines.
  • COVID Profits Ahead: So why are pharmaceutical companies suddenly competing to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19? Because the extent of the crisis and generous government incentives have transformed this pandemic into a business opportunity with minimal risk and tremendous profit potential.

Experts estimate the U.S. will need to purchase at least 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. With COVID-19, the US government has eliminated many risks that often dissuade drug companies from vaccine investments. Bybankrolling research, sponsoring clinical trials, and eliminating all liability for drug corporations, American taxpayers are heavily subsidizing drug corporations’ search for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs. In our previous blog, we outlined the key role that taxpayer funding is playing in ensuring effective drugs for COVID-19 come to market quickly. Patients For Affordable Drugs does not accept contributions from any organizations that profit from the development or distribution of prescription drugs.

Read the full post here.

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Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.