Don't allow monopoly of coronavirus drug rights, lawmakers urge Trump

A group of 46 Congress members sent a letter to the Trump administration Feb. 20 urging the government not to give exclusive licenses to any drugmaker that develops a coronavirus vaccine using U.S. taxpayer funds. 

The lawmakers expressed concern that if drugmakers are given excluisve licenses on coronavirus treatments or vaccines, they would raise the prices and make treatments inaccessible for many people affected by the virus. 

"Providing monopoly rights could result in an expensive medicine that is inaccessible, wasting public resources and putting public health at risk in the U.S. and around the globe," the lawmakers wrote. 

They asked the Trump administration to require HHS to intervene if a drugmaker prices a coronavirus treatment at an "excessive price," though they did not specify any parameters for what should be considered excessive. 

The lawmakers pointed to a deal made Feb. 4 between HHS and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in which HHS agreed to pay 80 percent of research and development as well as manufacturing costs to develop a treatment for coronavirus. 

"There must be guardrails in place to prevent Regeneron from monopolizing the medicine and maximizing profits," they wrote.

Read the full letter here

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