Watchdog Calls for Independent Patient Advocate to Audit ‘Operation Warp Speed’
“With billions of dollars and hundreds of millions of lives on the line, the stakes are simply too high for us to put our blind faith in the Trump Administration to put patients and families first”
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USA Today: “How the operation functions, its budget, what power it has and what resources it controls have either not been determined or not been made public”
Washington, DC – Today, Patients Over Pharma called on Congress to mandate that an independent patient advocate be appointed to audit and provide continued oversight of the Trump Administration’s ‘Operation Warp Speed’ COVID-19 vaccine and treatment development program. This comes after President Trump appointed drug company executive Dr. Moncef Slaoui as chief advisor to the program and exempted him from typical financial disclosure and conflict of interest laws, the removal of a top scientist whistleblower, the replacement of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the refusal of HHS to disclose details of the contracts it signed with drug companies.
“Former drug company executives are handing billions of taxpayer dollars to drug companies without any transparency, accountability, or public assurances that the taxpayer-funded vaccines and treatments will be affordable and accessible for every American – and that needs to change,”said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Patients Over Pharma.
“Congress should mandate that an independent patient advocate be appointed with the power to shine a spotlight on ‘Operation Warp Speed,’ audit any federal contracts with drug companies, and investigate any malfeasance or drug industry bias in the Trump Administration that could impact the development or distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine or treatment. With billions of dollars and hundreds of millions of lives on the line, the stakes are simply too high for us to put our blind faith in the Trump Administration to put patients and families first.”
‘Operation Warp Speed’ unanswered questions:
- What is the government’s plan to get vaccines and treatments out to patients across the country and who will cover the costs?
- Why was Operation Warp Speed’s Dr. Moncef Slaoui exempted from financial disclosure and conflicts of interest laws”
- Will “Operation Warp Speed” be releasing the contracts signed between the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, Moderna, Sanofi, and any other drug companies so that people can see what assurances the federal government got for their billions of dollars, if any?
- Were there any discussions between Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Dr. Robert Kadlec and officials from Novavax since Dr. Bright expressed concern about interactions violating federal law?
- Who within the federal government has oversight authority over Operation Warp Speed?
- How will experts at CDC, NIH/NIAID, BARDA, FDA, and the Department of Defense — the people with the expertise and institutional memory regarding pandemic response and medical countermeasures — be incorporated into Operation Warp Speed?