Members of the Senate appropriation health subcommittee are worried that the federal government isn’t doing enough to make the coronavirus vaccine affordable once it gets developed, according to Politico.
The government has given seven grants for hundreds of millions of dollars to develop coronavirus treatments. But the language in the contracts that was supposed to give the federal government the power over pricing and production was minimized or removed, according to the intellectual property advocacy group Knowledge Ecology International.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is responsible for procuring and developing medical countermeasures. Democrats claim the office has watered down pricing and patent language in deals it made with AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Genentech and Regeneron and other manufacturers that have produced candidate vaccines.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the chair of the appropriations health subcommittee, asked Acting BARDA chief Gary Disbrow if vaccine manufacturers should be responsible for putting drugs on the market at a fair price.
Disbrow said the objective was to negotiate the lowest price for the federal government. He added, “We would probably have to pay a slightly higher price” for vaccines made by drugmakers that haven’t received federal dollars.
“It’s important to keep in mind that when the federal government pays for all of the development and manufacturing of a product, the federal government owns the doses of the product manufactured with tax dollars,” a spokesperson for the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, which oversees BARDA said to Politico.