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Medicine

The German government has confirmed a report that Donald Trump tried to get exclusive rights to any future coronavirus vaccines being developed by a German research firm.

According to the report from Die Welt, Trump offered the firm CureVac a “large sum” — up to $1 billion — for access to the forthcoming vaccine, “but for the US only.”

The German government expressed its strong opposition to any such acquisition. German Health Minister Jens Spahn said it is “off the table” for the Trump administration to take over CureVac, and that the vaccine will be developed “for the whole world” and “not for individual countries,” the Guardian reported.

According to the New York Times, Trump first made the offer to Daniel Menichella, then the CEO of CureVac, during a March 2 meeting at the White House.

In a statement the day after the meeting, Menichella said he was “very confident that we will be able to develop a potent vaccine candidate within a few months.”

Menichella is now out as CEO, according to a company announcement on March 11, which gave no explanation about why Menichella was abruptly leaving the company after leading it for two years.

CureVac did not comment on Menichella’s departure, according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, the Times reported that German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he had heard about the Trump administration’s effort to gain exclusive access to CureVac’s possible vaccine “from several members of the government” and that a “crisis team” of German officials will discuss the effort in a meeting on Monday.

Germany’s economic affairs minister, Peter Altmaier, lauded CureVac for not taking the Trump administration’s offer.

“It was a great decision,” Altmaier said on a German television show Sunday night, according to the Times. “Germany is not for sale.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

At least two dozen House Republicans have called on Congress to address the rising costs of prescription drugs after voting against legislation to rein in the rising costs of prescription drugs.

The most recent to do so was Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), who went on Fox Business Monday morning demanding the House address the issue — which was addressed in December.

“Here’s the problem: We’ve got to get back to actually governing,” Collins said.

“The American people want to see us put a budget together. They want to see drug pricing taken care of,” he added.

In December 2019, a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. The bill would allow the federal government to negotiate Medicare drug prices and put in provisions to prevent prescription drug cost spikes.

Since Jan. 1, the costs of more than 630 prescription drugs have increased. The legislation opposed by these Republicans would reduce the cost of medication to treat breast cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and other medical conditions by as much as 96%.

For example, the cost of Humira, a drug to help with arthritis, would drop by by 81 percent, from $34,411 per year to $8,276 per year. Premarin, a drug to fight breast cancer, would drop in price by 96 percent, from $568 to just $21 per year, according to an analysis by the House Ways and Means Committee.

Collins, along with 190 other Republicans, voted against the bill.

Since that Dec. 12 vote, at least 24 Republicans have written on Facebook or Twitter about the high cost of prescription drugs.

On Jan. 27, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) tweeted he had heard from “countless folks” in his district that “prescription drugs cost too much.”

“They’re right,” Upton added, not mentioning that he voted against a bill to lower the cost of prescription drugs. 

“The cost of health care and prescription drugs is too high,” Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) wrote on Feb. 4. “Republicans are committed to lowering costs,” she added, despite her vote against H.R. 3.

“Congress should now act with the President on issues such as the high cost of prescription drugs, the high cost of health care, border security, and keeping our very strong economy going,” Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) wrote on Facebook on Feb. 4, two months after voting against a bill to lower the high cost of prescription drugs.

In late January, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said that House Democrats’ ignoring the issue of prescription drugs “is gonna cost them” in November’s election.

Republican after Republican has taken to social media to lament the high cost of prescription drugs, yet only two Republicans voted for legislation to lower their cost in the House.

IMAGE: EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company for use by severe allergy sufferers are seen in Washington, U.S. August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.