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U.S. Shouldn’t Have to Plead with Drug Makers Benefiting from Public Funding

Sec. Becerra Calls for Reasonable Prices on Vaccines

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra sent an open letter to COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, calling on them to price upcoming COVID vaccines “at a reasonable rate.” U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), has recommended reasonable pricing among reforms needed before confirming the next director of the HHS National Institutes of Health (NIH). Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Director Peter Maybarduk released the following statement:

“We are heartened by Secretary Becerra calling out price gouging and standing up for reasonable pricing.

“Yet ultimately, the United States should not have to plead with drugmakers benefiting from federal funding. It should decide that reasonable pricing is expected of them.”

“Had NIH and BARDA written reasonable pricing provisions into the Moderna COVID-19 funding contracts, the U.S. government would not have to ask today for reasonable prices from a corporation that does not want to give them, and indeed already has announced plans to charge more than $100 per shot.”

“This is the same reasonable ask Senator Sanders is making of the White House and NIH: That our government stand for reasonable prices early, so we don’t have to pay unreasonable prices later.

“We hope the White House will take the overdue – and reasonable – next step, to ensure all medicines and vaccines funded by taxpayer dollars are priced reasonably.”