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An Accounting for American Taxpayers on Their Investment in Remdesivir Treatment for COVID 19

May 1, 2020

***Press Release***

Press release header

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 1, 2020

Contact: Kate Stotesbery

202-494-4620 (Cell)

 

An Accounting for American Taxpayers on Their Investment in Remdesivir Treatment for COVID 19

Washington, D.C. – Amid announcements concerning preliminary clinical trial data on remdesivir and anticipated emergency use authorization from the FDA, U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Chair of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, urge Secretary Azar to release information about the extent of taxpayer investment in remdesivir, government ownership of any remdesivir patents, and any federal efforts to scale-up production. Arguing that an unaffordable drug is entirely ineffective for patients suffering, the members assert that “substantial taxpayer investments in COVID-19 pharmaceutical research must be recognized.”

“Those marketing new treatments should not abandon the American taxpayers who have been their angel investors,” said Congressman Doggett. “With the release of preliminary data on remdesivir, the public deserves an accounting of what taxpayer investment enabled this hopeful COVID-19 treatment, and clear insight into what steps HHS is taking to protect that investment. The Trump Administration has a duty to guard against pandemic profiteering so that every American who needs treatment can access it.”

“Our federal government often plays a substantial role in funding groundbreaking medical research—and there is no question that, in the end, that is to the benefit of our public health,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “Still, taxpayers should see the results not just in new medicines, but in their affordability as well. Remdesivir’s preliminary clinical trial data is encouraging, and those who fall ill from COVID-19 deserve to be able to access it. A full accounting of our federal investment will help prevent price gouging, so I encourage Secretary Azar to follow through on our request as expeditiously as possible.”

“Prior to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NIH spent nearly $700 million on coronavirus research. Congress has since appropriated over $6.5 billion for the research and development of therapeutics and vaccines,” the Members wrote. “Taxpayers are often the angel investors in pharmaceutical research and development, yet this is not reflected in the prices they pay… To ensure patients and the federal government are not subject to price gouging, we respectfully ask that you provide a breakdown of expenditures and sources of funding which the federal government has spent on the research and development of remdesivir, as well as ongoing and future funding commitments.”

You can read the letter here or in full below:

April 30, 2020

 

Alex Azar

Secretary

Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Ave. SW

Washington, DC 20201

 

Dear Secretary Azar:

With recent announcements concerning preliminary NIAID clinical trial data on remdesivir and anticipated emergency use authorization from the FDA, we write concerning your plans to ensure this treatment is available and affordable to all and to obtain appropriate accounting of the taxpayers’ investments in this drug.

Prior to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NIH spent nearly $700 million on coronavirus research. Congress has since appropriated over $6.5 billion for the research and development of therapeutics and vaccines. Taxpayers are often the angel investors in pharmaceutical research and development, yet this is not reflected in the prices they pay.

To ensure patients and the federal government are not subject to price gouging, we respectfully ask that you provide a breakdown of expenditures and sources of funding which the federal government has spent on the research and development of remdesivir, as well as ongoing and future funding commitments. This information should include:

1.   Grants to academic institutions who conducted research on remdesivir, including the names, dates, and amounts of funding.

2.   Research and development conducted directly by the NIH and other federal agencies, including the names, dates, and amounts of funding.

3.   Clinical trials conducted by the federal government or that have received federal financial assistance, including the names, dates, and amounts of funding.

4.   A list of patents and patent applications, with their numbers, that the federal government owns or has licensed for remdesivir. For any patents or patent applications that have been licensed, please provide to whom, the dates, and the terms of the license.

5.   Any federal expenditures to retrofit or build new Gilead facilities to scale-up production capacity of remdesivir, including the amounts, dates, and specific uses of those funds.

The global community has anxiously awaited the results of remdesivir’s clinical trials, and the stock market has surged with yesterday’s positive news. However, an unaffordable drug is completely ineffective. The substantial taxpayer investments in COVID-19 pharmaceutical research must be recognized.

We appreciate your attention to these important questions and stand ready to work with you to prevent any pandemic profiteering.

Sincerely,

Lloyd Doggett                                                             Rosa DeLauro

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