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When Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel was called before a Senate committee last week to defend his company’s decision to raise the price of its Covid vaccine, things went largely as one would expect. Progressives tried to pin the Moderna billionaire down as a symbol of corporate greed. Mitt Romney delivered a paean to the free market. And Bancel tried — and succeeded — at not being too quotable, showing what appeared to be a newfound restraint.

It was all pretty standard until Sen. Bernie Sanders, the committee’s chair, managed to stump the biotech billionaire.


What, Sanders asked, if instead of purchasing medicines after they had been developed at high prices, the government instead paid for companies’ research, enough to ensure they make a reasonable profit? Then, Sanders said, the medicines could be made available inexpensively to anyone who needed them.

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