Washington, DC — Today, President Trump and his coronavirus task force are meeting with Big Pharma executives at the White House to discuss the ongoing coronavirus threat. This comes after HHS Secretary Alex Azar implied that a coronavirus vaccine would not necessarily be affordable, testifying before a House committee that “We can’t control that price, because we need the private sector to invest. Price controls won’t get us there.” Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement in response:

“Rather than posing for a photo-op with Pharma executives that he lavished with tax breaks, President Trump should demand that drug companies make any coronavirus vaccine available and affordable to all Americans. American taxpayers are paying for research and development of a coronavirus vaccine, and it is beyond egregious that drug companies — with the president’s help — could even consider trying to pad their pockets at a time when Americans’ health and security matters most.” 

BACKGROUND

HHS Secretary Alex Azar Refused To Commit To Making A Coronavirus Vaccine Affordable: “We Can’t Control That Price.” During his testimony at last week’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, Azar claimed he wanted to make a potential vaccine affordable, but said “we can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest. The priority is to get vaccines and therapeutics and price controls won’t get us there.” 

President Trump Rewarded Drug Companies With Billions Of Dollars In Tax Breaks While Taxpayers Foot The Bill For Vaccine Research. In his 2017 tax overhaul, Trump rewarded drug companies with billions of dollars in tax breaks yet drug companies have continued to raise prices. Meanwhile, taxpayers are on the hook for funding research and development of new vaccines. According to Public Citizen, since the SARS outbreak, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has already spent nearly $700 million on coronavirus research and development.