This New York Times story (no paywall link) from today is very illustrative of the current times.
It turns out that makers of Covid vaccines expertly screwed their customers, keeping a large part of the prepayment money advanced to them without shipping vaccine doses that no longer find any demand.
As global demand for Covid-19 vaccines dries up, the program responsible for vaccinating the world’s poor has been urgently negotiating to try to get out of its deals with pharmaceutical companies for shots it no longer needs.
Drug companies have so far declined to refund $1.4 billion in advance payments for now-canceled doses, according to confidential documents obtained by The New York Times.
The worst example is J&J, manufacturer of the Janssen vaccine, which was pulled from use worldwide due to blood clots. Despite that, J&J demands that more money be given to it “because of existing contracts.”
If it cannot strike a more favorable agreement with another company, Johnson & Johnson, it could have to pay still more.
Gavi and Johnson & Johnson are locked in a bitter dispute over payment for shots that Gavi told the company months ago it would not need, but which the company produced anyway. Johnson & Johnson is now demanding that Gavi pay an additional, undisclosed amount for them.
New York Times is lamenting this situation and highlights appeals to the conscience of vaccine makers:
Covid vaccine manufacturers “have a special responsibility” because their products are a societal good and most were developed with public funding, said Thomas Frieden, the chief executive of the global health nonprofit Resolve to Save Lives and a former director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Who is Thomas Frieden? He is a former director of the CDC and also a convicted sex offender, in my opinion.
Vaccine makers resist Frieden’s appeals to their conscience because they do not have any.
Pfizer’s Strangely Special Case
Bill Gates’ GAVI is not asking Pfizer for refunds: Pfizer was paid directly by the US government. Did Bill Gates pull strings to have the US government hold the financial bag in the case of Pfizer?
If so, Bill certainly had personal financial reasons for this!
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested 55 million into Pfizer’s vaccine maker BioNTech in Sep 2019.
This investment was made when BioNTech was an obscure company with no vaccines in the pipeline. That “unexpectedly” changed mere months later when BioNTech was selected to become the largest producer of Covid vaccines. Such lucky timing for Bill!
So, Bill Gates, having a financial interest in BioNTech, did not want his own GAVI to pay for BioNTech vaccines that eventually found no buyer; instead, the US government paid Pfizer directly. Pfizer will keep the funds, giving the US government an “option” to buy vaccines that nobody wants anymore.
Under the revised deal, a total of 600 million Pfizer doses will be made available to the US by the end of the year, giving the administration more time to find countries who want them. Pfizer had originally agreed to sell a billion shots at cost by this month.
Bill Gates-funded GAVI seems to have screwed its donors innovatively: the donors gave money towards Covid vaccinations, which fizzled. Hence, GAVI received back 1.6 billion out of 2.3 donated billions it gave Covid vaccine makers. Gavi, however, will not refund 1.6 billion to the donors and will use the money it recovered for other purposes, inflating its budget:
Had some vaccine manufacturers not been willing to renegotiate their contracts with Gavi, the costs to the organization could have been much higher. Gavi would have been on the hook for $2.3 billion for the doses it wanted to cancel, the documents show, but it saved $1.6 billion by exiting those contracts.
…Donations for Covid shots substantially inflated Gavi’s budget, and the lost prepayments for canceled Covid vaccines do not threaten its regular childhood-vaccination work.
Such is the current state of the pandemic. The money is gone; vaccines do not work; people are dying suddenly; the government and Big Pharma do not want the public to pay attention.
If you, my reader, are in the United States, remember that the US government’s money is your money. Say bye-bye to it.
Will there be any real investigations?