By Sean Murphy, Canta Founder
At Canta, ‘vaccine safety’ is one of our primary causes to help America and the world be a better, safer and healthier place where vaccine safety is prioritized, and ultimately, fewer children (nay, no children!) are injured by vaccines. Our approach is “education through data.” As we like to say, in God we trust, all others bring data.
To understand vaccine safety it is important to understand and track financial incentives for large pharmaceutical companies (aka Big Pharma). This shows the incentive model and management’s decision making process, how they are driven by financial profits, and how safety protocols for testing for vaccines (“biologics”) are ultimately developed with a priority to have a perception of safety, not necessarily proven, actual safety driven by rigorous clinical trials and empirical data over a sustained period of time ‘post injection.’
You have heard the saying the tail is wagging the dog. That is happening here. The money is wagging the safety.
To track and analyze this, we use our experience and expertise as financial analysts tracking pharmaceutical companies to “follow the money.”
As James Carville once said, “it’s the economy stupid.” When it comes to Big Pharma, it’s the money stupid. We must follow the money — the financial scent — to understand how the money is wagging the safety.
President Trump recently announced the U.S. government intends to purchase 100 million doses of experimental coronavirus vaccine produced by Moderna. Moderna stated the deal for their new mRNA-1273 vaccine is worth $1.53 billion and will give the U.S. Government the option to purchase an additional 400 million doses.
That is 500 million doses — enough for every American to be vaccinated at least once — for a cumulative deal of $7.65 billion dollars ($1.53B x 5).
The U.S. Government (through BARDA) has already invested $955 million in Moderna’s vaccine development, which brings the U.S. Government’s total investment in the company to $2.48 billion. Between the money the U.S. Government has invested, and what Uncle Sam plans to pay Moderna, there is more than $10 billion at stake over the success of Modern’a new mRNA-1273 vaccine.
How safe does a vaccine really need to be if a company stands to make more than $10 billion dollars from the U.S. Government in a legal and regulatory environment where the company has no liability for damages by their vaccine?
The answer to this question hides in why the perception of safety, not the actual safety (from clinical trials and empirical safety data over a sustained period of time), is prioritized by vaccine companies. The money wags the safety.
“We appreciate the confidence of the U.S. government in our mRNA vaccine platform and the continued support,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a press release. Respectfully, Mr. Bancel, of course you do.
Moderna is not the only Big Pharma company positioning for U.S. government contracts as part of Operation Warp Speed. Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, and AstraZenaca and are also getting their COVID-19 vaccines into position.
Don’t be deceived or naive, the executives and institutional investors at these companies see this as a go-to-market race. It is not a race to have the safest and most effective vaccine to protect Americans from a virus that kills primarily the elderly with pre-existing and serious health conditions. It is a race to develop and deploy a vaccine that makes billions of dollars and is perceived to be safe (or, at least, safe enough to sign the billion dollar deal and get paid).
Similar to the Moderna deal, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) has partnered with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline for up to $2.1 billion to develop and deliver 100 million doses of their potential coronavirus vaccine with the option to acquire an additional 500 million doses.
HSS has also agreed to a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech for a $1.95 billion to produce and deliver 100 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine with the option to acquire 500 million additional doses.
Johnson & Johnson has agreed to more than $1 billion for 100 million doses with the option for an additional 200 million.
The U.S. Government is lining up its COVID-19 horses and placing bets. That’ll be 100 million doses upfront and a 200-500 million dose bonus for the go-to-market winner. Sound good?
So, what are these companies doing to test their COVID-19 vaccines and ensure they are safe… to ensure they safe enough to give your child who has no statistical possibility of dying from COVID-19?
We’ll explore safety in Part 2 of this series. Stay tuned and be safe, actually safe, America.
Image Credit, Michael Marcovici