It is no coincidence that our HHS Secretary is a former pharmaceutical executive, whose ties to his former companies have made watchdog organizations cry foul.
When drug companies exploit fear to pressure governments into funding them on the taxpayer dime, they win both ways: socialized funding, with privatized profits.
Thus, Congress's ambiguous $8.3-billion plan should be alarming for taxpayers. Why should they have to pay twice? And where is the outrage to fund heart disease, which kills 650k Americans per year?
Congressional allocation of funding should be guided by qualified experts who possess no conflict of interest or vested ties to the pharmaceutical companies in order to de-incentivize profiteering and of virus fears and panic. Virus vaccination, whenever it is ready, if we are genuinely still afraid of the spreading illness, must be free.
It is time for striking a delicate balance of financial prudence that lies between caution and hysteria.
Robert Weiner is a former spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Policy and the U.S. House Committee on Narcotics. He was Chief of Staff of the House Committee on Aging and the Subcommittee on Health, senior staff for Congressman John Conyers, Charles Rangel, Claude Pepper, Ed Koch, Sen. Edward Kennedy; and 4-Star Gen. Barry McCaffrey. Wesam Farah is policy analyst at Robert Weiner Associates and Solutions for Change.
(Article changed on March 18, 2020 at 16:22)
(Article changed on March 18, 2020 at 16:27)