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Press Release | April 14, 2021

Big Pharma's Coils Around COVID-19 Vaccines Likely Protected By Raimondo, Zients, Ricchetti

CoronavirusExecutive BranchIntellectual PropertyJeff Zients
Big Pharma's Coils Around COVID-19 Vaccines Likely Protected By Raimondo, Zients, Ricchetti

Contact: Max Moran, [email protected]

The following is attributable to Jeff Hauser, Executive Director of the Revolving Door Project:

“The world deserves to know exactly who is responsible for the United States not yet supporting a waiver for intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccine production. We’d be shocked if it’s merely coincidence that almost all of the executive branch offices which impact intellectual property run through Gina Raimondo’s Commerce Department. (Commerce includes the Patent and Trademark Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the International Trade Administration.)”

“Raimondo was corporate America’s favorite lapdog as Governor of Rhode Island, where she led a catastrophically poor response to COVID-19 driven by the public-private partnerships she and Big Pharma now promote from Washington. She has a long history of running favors for Johnson & Johnson in particular, including the most lucrative set of tax subsidies-per-job in the state’s history. If she was willing to protect nursing homes whose residents and workers died, and slash aid to the state’s poorest communities at the nadir of the pandemic, she’s almost certainly willing to let the people of the developing world die and COVID-19 further mutate for the sake of Big Pharma’s bottom line.”

“We are also concerned about COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients’ role in this inexcusable delay in action. Zients made his money advising Pharma firms on how to get ever richer, and bought a firm that engages in surprise medical billing during the Trump years. He’d be a natural ally to drug-makers looking to prioritize their bottom line ahead of the public’s health. White House advisor Steve Ricchetti is also cause for worry — his brother Jeff is a literal Big Pharma lobbyist.”

“We urge Biden to immediately reject any voices in the room that call for putting property rights ahead of human lives. As Biden, a believer in the capacity of democratic government to do good, knows, nearly every advance against COVID-19 is the product of federal government investment. Biden’s ethic of interpersonal care, human decency, and a fair shot for all require immediately waiving all grants of intellectual property on any aspect of the production cycle for COVID-19 vaccines. Biden shall, moreover, be fiercely judged if his nominees for these IP-related jobs housed in Commerce are representatives of the establishment that have protected Big Pharma and other bad actors in the past.”


The Revolving Door Project’s work on intellectual property and pharmaceuticals is below.  

Why You Should Care About Who Leads The Patent And Trademark Office | Eleanor Eagan and Timi Iwayemi
Secretary Raimondo Must Act Quickly To Support The TRIPS Waiver | Sion Bell

PHOTO: “Johnson & Johnson Vaccine At O.R Tambo International Airport” by South African Government is licensed under CC BY-SA- 4.0

CoronavirusExecutive BranchIntellectual PropertyJeff Zients

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