“Taxpayers Should Know” Dems Want Trumps Vaccine Contracts Made Public
What exactly is in the COVID-19 vaccine contracts that were negotiated under the Donald Trump Administration? Democrats think the taxpayers who funded the contracts should know the answer.
Common Dreams reports that Trump’s administration dodged regulatory oversight by using a ‘nongovernment intermediary’ to issue massive vaccine contracts to pharmaceutical companies, and that a long list of lawmakers, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and others, have signed on to a letter to the Biden Administration to request that this information be made public.
They say they’re concerned that the taxpayer investment into these vaccines won’t protect those same taxpayers from price-gouging when companies are able to put a price on them.
Despite taxpayers fully underwriting Moderna’s vaccine, significantly paying for Johnson & Johnson’s research, and conducting some of the underlying research that contributed to Pfizer vaccines, all three companies are apparently planning to raise prices as quickly as possible. In our exercise of congressional oversight, we seek access to these agreements to understand what protections are in place for taxpayer investments and what terms may need to be renegotiated.
According to CNBC, there’s already a Congressional investigation into one company, Emergent Solutions, to determine if its contract was awarded due to inside connections with Trump officials.
“Specifically, we are investigating reports that Emergent received multi-million-dollar contracts to manufacture coronavirus vaccines despite a long, documented history of inadequately trained staff and quality control issues.”
This comes after Emergent received a contract worth more than half a billion dollars to make vaccines despite “indications that Emergent did not have the ability to reliably fulfill the contract,” as stated in lawmakers’ letter regarding their investigation.