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Sun Oct 18, 2020, 06:31 PM

The coronavirus vaccine will not be free: Americans have already paid for it -- twice

The government is paying vaccine development costs plus paying for production with a hefty profit for the makers


If you are an American citizen, you have already paid for your novel coronavirus vaccine. Not only have you paid for this future vaccine, you have also paid billions for the research that went into discovering that vaccine. The pharmaceutical companies that accepted all that free money to do that research are going to make millions off your investment. You'll get a jab in the arm.

One of the leading candidates in stage III clinical trials is the Moderna NIH vaccine. In normal times with any other disease, the US government throws lots of money into early stage clinical research, which is then bought up by pharmaceutical companies who do the stage II and III clinical trials. When that drug comes to market, the Big Pharma companies then turn around and sell that drug to Americans at inflated prices. The pharmaceutical companies will argue they need to charge lots of money to recuperate the cost of developing the drug and so that they can pour money into finding new ones.

That sounds reasonable, except for the fact it was Uncle Sam who paid for some of the costs of developing the drug in the first place. The difference between normal times and COVID times is that in the case of the Moderna vaccine, the US government is footing the entire bill.

Moderna is part of Operation Warp Speed, which is a government program throwing literal billions at finding therapies and vaccines for COVID-19. Earlier this year the pharmaceutical giant received nearly a billion dollars for vaccine research and development. As part of their government contract they are obligated to state how much of their own money they are pouring into research. Only after public pressure did they finally release one small press statement in which they admitted that Uncle Sam is paying 100% of the cost of the vaccine development. Moderna has put forth absolutely zero dollars into developing this. Zilch. Zero. Nada.


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