Amid ongoing concern that Covid-19 therapies and vaccines may be unaffordable, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a pair of bills that would prohibit drug makers from price gouging and also require all taxpayer-funded Covid-19 research to be recorded in a federal database.
The move comes as access to Covid-19 medical products emerges as a hot-button issue in the U.S. and elsewhere, with worries mounting over the extent to which a therapy or vaccine will be available in sufficient quantities at affordable prices. In February, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Congress the Trump administration wanted to make products affordable, but could not control pricing.
His remarks alarmed some lawmakers and consumer advocacy groups in the U.S., but also helped fuel a push by governments in other countries to convince the World Health Organization to create mechanisms to ensure therapies and vaccines are affordable. One of the WHO projects is a patent pool, although the Trump administration has not joined that effort.