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Week 7: What’s happening in the world of the vaccine?

No vaccine yet, but Moderna’s CEO has already turned a profit

Reports on Moderna’s early vaccine trials have been mixed, but initial positive reports sent the company’s stock soaring. The company’s CEO and several top executives sold thousands of shares to profit off of this spike, with the company’s top four executives making $30 million in just a few days. With up to $480 million in US taxpayer funding behind Moderna’s success, it’s problematic that the company has yet to make a commitment regarding the vaccine’s affordability. If it’s not too soon to profit off of the vaccine, it’s not too soon to honestly discuss its price.

A Bangladeshi company will be the first to supply generic remdesivir

Using its power under the TRIPS Agreement to issue a compulsory license, the Bangladeshi government has allowed the company Beximco to manufacture generic remdesivir without a license from Gilead, increasing affordable access to the drug. The company may also export the drug to other countries without patent barriers.

Gilead has recently made deals with five companies in India and Pakistan, issuing voluntary non-exclusive licenses for these companies to produce generic remdesivir for 127 countries, but because it does not require a license from Gilead, the situation with Beximco is different and could have a more powerful impact on affordability.

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