US gov’t scientists received $710 million from Big Pharma during COVID, watchdog finds – LifeSite

(LifeSiteNews) – Scientists affiliated with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) received $710 million in royalties from medical companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data uncovered by government spending watchdog Adam Andrzejewski.

Andrzejewski, whose organization sued to obtain the information, wrote in the New York Post that the $710 million spans late 2021 through 2023and includes $690 million just to the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the subagency formerly helmed by controversial ex-White House COVID adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, and 260 of its scientists.

The royalties, ostensibly for the licensing of medical advancements developed by government scientists, accompanied more than a billion dollars from NIH to the private sector, more than twice the sum of the previous twelve years combined.

“It’s unclear if any of the COVID vaccine royalties from (mRNA COVID vaccine manufacturers) Pfizer and Moderna, the latter of which settled with NIH by agreeing to pay $400 million, is even included in these new numbers,” wrote Andrzejewski, adding that “NIH is still redacting pieces of the data that would help us more easily connect therapeutics with their government-paid inventors. For example, they refuse to show us the amount of royalties paid to each individual scientist. So we still can’t entirely follow the money.”

While much remains unclear about the payments, which were obtained with the help of conservative legal group Judicial Watch, the latest findings extend the already-long shadow cast over the public health bureaucracy since COVID’s outbreak in 2020. Many argue that the vast sums of money at stake leave politicians and regulators alike disinclined to seriously review the safety and effectiveness of Big Pharma’s preferred COVID drugs and vaccines.

In January, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer released its January 2021-December 2022 Pfizer PAC and Corporate Political Contributions Report revealing it gave more than $2.4 million to individual candidates and more than $6 million to leadership PACs, trade associations, and party committees affiliated with both major political parties.

One longstanding impediment to holding Big Pharma accountable for its handling of COVID has been the federal Public Readiness & Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act of 2005, which, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), empowers the federal government to “limit legal liability for losses relating to the administration of medical countermeasures such as diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.” Near the beginning of the COVID outbreak, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) invoked the act in declaring the virus a “public health emergency.”

Under this “sweeping” immunity, CRS explains, the federal government, state governments, “manufacturers and distributors of covered countermeasures,” and licensed or otherwise-authorized health professionals distributing those countermeasures are shielded from “all claims of loss” stemming from those countermeasures, with the exception of “death or serious physical injury” brought about through “willful misconduct,” a standard that, among other hurdles, requires the offender to have acted “intentionally to achieve a wrongful purpose.”

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