Mar 30, 2020
“We would want to ensure that we work to make [the coronavirus vaccine] affordable, but we can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest,” said the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar. This response was expected from Alex Azar, who was pharmaceutical company Eli-Lilly’s lobbyist before joining the current government. Azar is representing and protecting his rich employers’ interests, after all.
The worldwide vaccine market has grown six-fold over the past two decades, worth more than $35 billion today. Four big pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, Merck, and Pfizer, own 85% of this huge vaccine market. A few rich owners of these handful of companies immensely benefit out of this fully consolidated market.
Currently, more than 10 small and large companies are working on the coronavirus vaccine. But, the U.S. government and international health organizations know very well that the four pharmaceutical companies will ultimately own and/or practically commandeer manufacturing of any vaccine developed in a university, a government institution, or a small company lab.
While these companies are ensuring their profits and avoiding any liability, and spending their time on such self-serving activities, development of the coronavirus vaccine could be delayed and even choked off. And we would be the victims of this crazy system.