November 11, 2021 Letter from Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen ~ Citizen.org
Three pharmaceutical giants — Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna — get a lot of credit for developing COVID-19 vaccines that are saving countless millions of lives around the world.
But development of what is known as the “Moderna” vaccine was actually done in partnership with the federal government — specifically scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — and almost entirely funded by American taxpayers.
(Johnson & Johnson also got over $1 billion in federal funding to develop “its” vaccine, and the “Pfizer” vaccine was developed with significant funding from the German government.)
One former official described the partnership between NIH and Moderna — to develop, test, and manufacture the vaccine — like this:
“We did the front end. They did the middle. And we did the back end.”
But now — as Public Citizen points out in a letter to the NIH and also published in The New York Times — Moderna has applied for patents without giving government scientists credit as co-inventors of the vaccine.
- By stealthily trying to take sole credit for creating the vaccine — which it most definitely did *not* do on its own — Moderna is scheming to lock in patent rights, and profits, for years to come.
- Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging.
- We need to get millions more Americans vaccinated — including children — and we need to do our part, as the richest country on Earth, to get the whole world vaccinated.
- Our taxpayer dollars funded the development of the NIH/Moderna vaccine, but now the company is trying to pretend like they did it all on their own.
Moderna’s selfishness could very well extend the pandemic and cost more lives, so we are calling on President Biden to take action.
Don’t let Moderna get away with pretending they developed a COVID-19 vaccine without significant help from government scientists and support from American taxpayers. Use the power of the presidency to ensure that NIH scientists are listed as co-inventors in Moderna’s patent applications so that the U.S. government retains a say in how the vaccine is shared around the world.
Thanks for taking action.
– Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen
Public Citizen | 1600 20th Street NW | Washington DC 20009