SUMMARY: (Times) The financial windfall at Moderna, the biotech company behind one of the three federally cleared Covid-19 vaccines, has propelled three new names onto Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 wealthiest people in the United States. However, it’s the NIH’s vaccine. It is not merely Moderna’s vaccine. Federal scientists helped invent it, and taxpayers are funding its development.
Moderna has received almost a billion dollars from BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of HHS). That’s all money from our taxes. On top of that, Moderna cut a deal —worth more than $1.5 billion—with the federal government for an initial 100 million doses of the vaccine. Moderna executives also profited handsomely from stock sales that just happened to coincide with announcements of results, with amounts of the top three totaling about $100 million. NPR critically noted that the company was valued at about $6 billion earlier this year, although it had never brought a product to market. Analyst Peter Cohan suggests the company might add as much as $30 billion to its revenues.
All in all, U.S. agencies committed about $2.5 billion to help develop Moderna’s vaccine and buy doses, according to the New York Times.
According to Quartz “in the US, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines rely on older scientific breakthroughs paid for by public money and then on fresh infusions of government grants last year—from the German government in Pfizer’s case, and the US government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in Moderna’s case. Moderna has said that it has “made clear the extent of BARDA’s 100% funding of the program” that hustled the vaccine from unapproved technology to licensed product.”
Moderna is not the only one using taxpayer dollars to make a lot of money. Merck’s antiviral pill that showed promising results against severe COVID-19 was initially developed at Emory University with $35 million of taxpayer grants.
So there it is. More proof that pharma is in it “for the money” and could care less about the people they serve. The executives at Moderna can retire with more money than 99.5% of the population because of that population’s taxes.
I realize that President Biden has a full plate fighting with idiot Republicans, but the drug companies are laughing all the way to the bank while voters want action NOW. When is enough?