How the US Government Allowed Big Pharma to Price Gouge the World with Covid Vaccines

Last Updated on May 7, 2022 by Shaun Snapp

Executive Summary

  • The US Government handed over virtual IP to Big Pharma to develop the covid vaccines.
  • Big Pharma has responded by price-gouging world governments.

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See our references for this article and related articles at this link.

The Way the US Government Supports Big Pharma Price Gouging


Faking Innovation and Lying About Taxpayer Support

Another issue is that Moderna has already been caught lying about its support from the US government, as is explained in the following quotation.

Moderna…has failed to disclose government financial support in any of the 126 patents it has filed in its 10-year history, in apparent violation of federal law, according to a new report by activist researchers.

Moderna has not listed that government support in any patents (emphasis added), despite a requirement in the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act that companies disclose in patent applications when they have received government help, KEI said. Moderna also has not disclosed government involvement in any of 154 pending patent applications, KEI’s report said. – The Washington Post

As pointed out by the comment in The Washington Post article, what Moderna did was a first step in cutting the government out of any revenue sharing.

The presence of co-developers in a parent application is important. Especially when your tax dollars went to that development. Any demand for royalties may be harder to prove without it being included in the patent itself. – Alex1952

And by this comment..

Moderna has never followed the law on disclosing federal financial support in any of its 126 patent applications. The company was founded in 2010.  It has been happily skating by without these legally mandated and entirely reasonable disclosures and the federal government has happily ignored any enforcement actions.

Drug prices are incredibly high in the US and kept high by many appalling practices. One of the reasons that nothing changes in the pharmaceutical industry is that the American public does not realize how much they have paid for drug research and how often new drugs are created using federal dollars. Yet we pay way much more than we should for drugs and other First World countries pay much less, just because we allow ourselves to be grossly overcharged and other countries are unfair and unscrupulous negotiators who insist, in essence, that the US pay for all drug research while they skirt by for free. – JerseyCityJoan

Moderna was highly connected to the Trump Administration. And Moncef Slaoui, who sat on the board of Moderna and is part of Trump’s coronavirus advisory, has not disclosed his financial ties to Moderna, as the following quote explains.

Slaoui’s lack of financial disclosure has attracted negative attention from Democrats on Capitol Hill. Last month, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, blasting Slaoui’s employment status and calling it “a blatant attempt to skirt federal ethics law.” – The Washington Post


Slaoui agreed to sell stock worth $12 million and resign from the board of Moderna, the developer of a leading potential vaccine. But Slaoui insisted on keeping his roughly $10 million stake in his former company, GlaxoSmithKline, another contender in the Operation Warp Speed vaccine race. “I won’t leave those shares because that’s my retirement,” he has said. GlaxoSmithKline, working with Sanofi, has started human trials for a coronavirus vaccine using similar technology to Sanofi’s flu shot. It is supported by up to $2.1 billion from the U.S. government.

“It’s been extremely painful for me that anybody would even think that I took this job to enrich myself or my former colleagues,” Slaoui said.  – ProPublica

We bet. It must be tearing up Slaoui inside.

Elizabeth Warren had the following to say about Slaoui.

Congress should strengthen the federal ethics laws to root out this kind of corruption,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said at a hearing on Wednesday. “And the first person to be fired should be Dr. Slaoui. The American people deserve to know that COVID-19 decisions are based on science and not on personal greed.” – Pro Publica

Moderna is a horrendously mismanaged company filled with sociopathic liars that before the government handed over most of the IP for a vaccine had never developed a product in over ten years of operation. Their executives are running a stock scam and a corrupt agent working as an advisor who is not following ethics rules of divestment to reduce his financial conflict of interest. Moderna has had a history of lying about its technology and potential since its inception.

Moderna has zero credibility. And what is amazing, is Moderna appears to have created the vaccine with the least side effects.

Handing Over IP to Pharmaceutical Companies

Other research indicates that the vaccines do not work, which I cover in the article How Effective and Safe Are the Covid Vaccines? However, IP was handed over to the pharmaceutical companies. They then falsified clinical trials and may end up charging the US government close to a trillion dollars when all is said and done. Let us review the numbers.

Multiply $28.00 by three vaccine doses per person for a World population of 7.9 billion, What do you get?

This is not an estimate, it’s an “order of magnitude”: 663.6 billion dollars ($28.00 x 3 x 7.9 billion = $663.6 billion).

It is all for a good cause: save lives?

We are talking about a multi-billion dollar operation at tax payers expense, which has resulted in a pattern of vaccine related deaths and injuries. And the governments are fully aware of what is happening. – Global Research

This brings up the topic of how the government continually hands over IP to the pharmaceutical industry with no strings attached. The US government could have simply made the IP patent-free and completed the clinical trials themselves — of course, which would have shown the vaccines did not work. (I covered this in the article How Effective and Safe Are the Vaccines) With the massive profit incentive created, there was simply no way pharmaceutical companies were not going to falsify the effectiveness and downplay the side effects of the vaccines.

Lawmakers have increasingly scrutinized the high prices of drugs, especially when they were invented by government institutions or with government help, which is often the case through National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Department of Defense grants and contracts.

Recognizing the government contribution in the patent also gives the government agencies a consistent means of tracking how government-sponsored inventions are being used and whether they are receiving royalties. The Government Accountability Office said in 2018 that agencies need to do a better job tracking how and when they exert licensing authority and extract royalties from taxpayer-funded inventions. – Washington Post

World Governments Are Allowing Pharmaceutical Companies to Call the Shots

This is not just an issue with the US government. Pharmaceutical companies highly control world governments. This is explained very well by the secret agreements they have signed to obtain the vaccines. As a public entity is purchasing the vaccines, it is very bizarre how secrecy can be placed into these contracts that serve no public benefit function but are entirely about protecting pharmaceutical companies from liability or protecting their monopolistic price gouging strategies.

The first part here is critical.

The Governments Have Already Funded Vaccine Development

Governments have poured billions of dollars into helping drug companies develop vaccines and are spending billions more to buy doses.

Other companies have received even more help. The Massachusetts biotech company Moderna not only used government-developed technology as the foundation of its vaccine, it also received about $1 billion in government grants to develop the drug.

In August, the government then placed an initial order for the vaccine for $1.5 billion. The company has said that the project was paid for entirely by the federal government.

Despite the tremendous taxpayer investments, typically the drug companies fully own the patents. That means that companies can decide how and where the vaccines get manufactured and how much they cost. – NYT

Yes, and the question is, why not? No one but the government funds projects and then walks away with nothing, no interest, no stock — absolutely nothing. How complicated is that?

With that funding, the government did not secure IP rights. Therefore, when the vaccine is developed, the pharmaceutical companies come to the negotiating table under a pattern of behavior that they developed the vaccines all by themselves.

However, this illustrates that politicians are paid off with campaign donations by pharmaceutical companies. They are selling out the interests of the public because they are bought off. They accept atrocious deals from pharmaceutical companies because they have given up their responsibility to protect the public interest. While handing over trillions to Big Pharma, these same governments will talk about “fiscal discipline” with their citizens. How can they have any credibility on this topic when they hand over this amount of money to pharmaceutical companies that in the case of the vaccines have added no value in return for what the governments have given them.

This video explains at the end that Pfizer executives have stated in documents shared with shareholders that they intend for the pandemic and for vaccine purchases to extend into the future in what appears to be a perpetual fashion. 

CEO Frank D’Amelio and Chuck Triano, senior VP of investor relations — said there would be a chance for Pfizer to raise prices for the vaccine when covid moves from a pandemic state to an endemic state situation and the virus circulates continually in pockets around the globe.

“We believe it’s becoming increasingly likely that an annual re-vaccination is going to take place,” said D’Amelio, noting that the company did not see the pandemic or the resulting vaccination drives as a “onetime event…current demand and current pricing is being driven by….the pandemic state we’ve been in, all the needs of governments to secure doses from various vaccine suppliers,” said D’Amelio.

Understanding Secret Parts of the Vaccine Purchase Contracts

Available documents, however, suggest that drug companies demanded and received flexible delivery schedules, patent protection and immunity from liability if anything goes wrong. – NYT

This immunity is very likely because there are a substantial number of adverse reactions from the vaccines. These adverse reactions are reported but also underreported at, for which I have a screenshot below.

If immunity is given to pharmaceutical companies, they have no incentive not to roll out dangerous products. 

Hiding Prices Paid by Governments

One of the key terms of the vaccine contracts — the price per dose — is frequently redacted in the public versions of government contracts. The companies consider this a trade secret.

That is why it caused such a stir last month when a Belgian official mistakenly revealed a price list, which showed that United States taxpayers were paying $19.50 per dose for the Pfizer vaccine, while Europeans paid $14.70. – NYT

There are enormous differences in prices per country — and this can only be maintained if the pricing is kept secret.

Source: NPR

The Overall Failure of Governments Managing Covid Pandemic Procurement

Many governments around the world have procurement relationships with some very dodgy suppliers that could not pass public scrutiny. Every time some time-sensitive procurement is deemed necessary, it appears that any standards in procurement are thrown out the window. The following quotations describe what occurred in the UK during the pandemic.

In the government’s rush to hand out contracts, officials ignored or missed many red flags. Dozens of companies that won a total of $3.6 billion in contracts had poor credit, and several had declared assets of just $2 or $3 each. Others had histories of fraud, human rights abuses, tax evasion or other serious controversies. A few were set up on the spur of the moment or had no relevant experience — and still won contracts. The New York Times analyzed a large segment of it, the roughly 1,200 central government contracts that have been made public, together worth nearly $22 billion. Of that, about $11 billion went to companies either run by friends and associates of politicians in the Conservative Party, or with no prior experience or a history of controversy. Meanwhile, smaller firms without political clout got nowhere. – NYT

$22 billion is the smallest of potatoes compared to the absolute failure of governance by the US government with respect to the vaccines, but it illustrates the worldwide government waste that occurred during the pandemic and certainly continues to this day.

What Investigation Did Governments Do Into the Effectiveness of the Vaccines?

Another question that came up when looking into this is what analysis world governments performed before engaging in procurement from the drug companies for these vaccines. It appears that the approving bodies in each government have often taken the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization as the evidence they needed to begin procuring the vaccines.

The Australian Government’s Lack of Investigation of Vaccine Maker Claims

A freedom of information request (FOI) request was made by one of our members in February 2021 to the Australian drugs regulator, the TGA (Therapeutic Good Administration) to ask what should have been simple questions. The TGA is the Australian equivalent of the FDA (US), MHRA (UK) and EMA (Europe) and is held in high regard worldwide.

The document below is a redacted version of the documents that were sent by the TGA in response to this request. What they show is that the TGA never saw or requested the patient data from Pfizer and simply accepted their reporting of their study as true. This means that when the head of the TGA John Skerritt said that “the safety evidence is pretty thorough” on the 6th February (here) his words would ring hollow to most Australians who have assumed, rightly or wrongly, that the TGA had actually looked at the patient data themselves.

A further concerning aspect of the FOI request is the efforts to which the TGA appeared to go to suppress the request – initially requesting a 6 months extension in view of a “voluminous request” which eventually yielded only one document of 14 pages, heavily redacted.

Doctors for Covid Ethics remain concerned that the TGA’s failure to validate the Pfizer data has been replicated at other agencies worldwide (FDA, MHRA and EMA).

Instead of verifying the data, the TGA simply rubber stamped the Pfizer vaccine, accepting on face value Pfizer’s misleading claim that their product showed “95% efficacy to prevent COVID-19 infection”. – Doctors 4 Covid Ethics

The UK Government’s Lack of Investigation of Vaccine Maker Claims

Given Pfizer’s legal history of healthcare fraud it was imperative that the drug regulators verify the drug manufacturers’ submission data prior to COVID vaccine approval. Rather than answering any of the questions or supplying documentation, however, the MHRA responded with generalities regarding usual process, and devolved their responsibilities to Public Health England, providing for a tangled web of deflection. See the MHRA’s initial response to the FOI request here, and the FOI applicant’s follow-up reply seeking specific answers rather than obfuscation here. In addition to citing standard practice and noting that “the sponsor” ie Pfizer, “had access to the raw data”, the MHRA directed the FOI applicant to an earlier committee meeting with the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM), held on 24th December 2020. However, based on their FOI responses, the MHRA appears not to have analyzed any raw data at all.

The PHE response goes on to state “In accordance with Section 1(1)(a) of the FOI Act, PHE can confirm it does not hold this information. It is not the case that PHE had access to the full Pfizer dataset.”

In other words, the MHRA (the UK drug regulator that is tasked with ensuring safety of new drugs) failed to analyze the Pfizer data itself. Furthermore they claimed to have given this job to Public Health England who stated categorically that they had no access to the data, let alone conducted data validation or analysis.

The bottom line is that this is the second of the big four drug regulators (MHRA, TGA, EMA, FDA) who have never inspected nor assessed the validity of Pfizer’s “miracle” data.

Which begs the question – who, outside of Pfizer, has verified and analyzed Pfizer’s trial data? Why should the public take Pfizer’s word on the results of their own investigations, when tens of billions of dollars in profits are at stake?

An analysis by professors of immunology, biochemistry, toxicology and pharmacology, for instance, has detailed “unlikely claims and contradictions” in Pfizer’s clinical trial reporting. This includes sudden and uniform onset of immunity across all vaccine recipients on day 12 following injection, which is “not at all a biologically plausible outcome”.

Further discrepancies have been noted numerically, with different analyses of the same data by Pfizer containing inconsistent numbers which “cannot possibly be reconciled; one must be false.

Since, as discussed, the sudden onset of immunity implied by [the results] lacks any biological plausibility, it is most likely that it is this data set which was fabricated.”

With anomalies this stark, against Pfizer’s history of setting records in the billions for criminal fines and settlements over fraud and unsafe medical products, including conducting unauthorized clinical trials, and in light of the lack of regulatory transparency and failures of regulatory oversight documented here, COVID vaccine recipients are entitled to ask: Did Pfizer fabricate their data for the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine? – Doctors 4 Covid Ethics

The damning evidence is that the vaccines do not work as I cover in the article How Effective Are the Covid Vaccines. The fact that governments are buying them and allowing themselves to get gouged on them, indicates that almost none of the world governments investigated the effectiveness of the vaccines themselves.


The entire vaccine policy regarding covid has been entirely mismanaged. First, there was no overriding reason for a covid vaccine as the virus only kills people who are very close to dying. Secondly, the covid vaccine IP was handed over for free to Big Pharma, who then promptly created clinical trials that falsified the vaccine’s effectiveness and downplayed its adverse effects. Third, the US government obtained no IP rights. The US government may end up spending roughly a trillion dollars on the covid vaccine — which most likely do not even work –, and they could have quickly developed these vaccines for a tiny fraction of this. The government knew it was going to be the customer of this vaccine. Why allow someone else to develop it. Injecting water into people is probably better as a placebo as at least it has no side effects. This clown show of corruption is indefensible. The massive profits involved, partly due to how the US government managed the vaccine development and funding and IP control, created the incentive to develop an ineffective vaccine. How will other governments react when they find out they paid large sums of money for a vaccine that does not work and that the FDA knew never worked?

The best way to describe the entire vaccine issue with covid by the US government has been a disaster.

On The Problem With Patents

Unfortunately, the U.S. patent system at present is out of balance. Over the past few decades, the expansion of patentability to include software and business methods as well as a general relaxation of patenting requirements have led to wildly excessive growth in these temporary monopolies: the number of patents granted annually has skyrocketed roughly fivefold since the early 1980s. One unfortunate result has been the rise of “non-practicing entities,” better known as patent trolls: firms that make nothing themselves but buy up patent portfolios and monetize them through aggressive litigation. As a result, a law that is supposed to encourage innovation has turned into a legal minefield for many would-be innovators. In the pharmaceutical industry, firms have abused the law by piling up patents for trivial, therapeutically irrelevant “innovations” that allow them to extend their monopolies and keep raising prices long beyond the statutorily contemplated 20 years. Patent law is creating these unintended consequences because policymakers have been caught in an ideological fog that conflates “intellectual property” with actual property rights over physical objects. Enveloped in that fog, they regard any attempts to put limits on patent monopolies as attacks on private property and view ongoing expansions of patent privileges as necessary to keep innovation from grinding to a halt. The basic patent bargain, even when well struck, is to pay for more innovation down the road with slower diffusion of innovation today. In the context of a pandemic, that bargain is a bad one and should be rejected entirely. Here the imperative is to accelerate the diffusion of vaccines and other treatments, not slow it down. – Brookings