An article by Natalie Shure and Fran Quigley, published in Jacobin on July 13th, opened with a reminder of Alex Azar’s refusal to promise an affordable COVID-19 vaccine. The article highlights the significance of public investment in biomedical R&D, and argues that a public system of pharmaceutical manufacturing and pricing could be the answer to our current crisis and to problems with access to medicines overall:
Publicly provisioned drug development would not only keep public research in the public domain, but allow for democratic oversight over what drugs get made. Publicly funded clinical trials will reduce gamesmanship and concealment of critical data, giving us more reliable and credible information than ever. And public pharmaceutical manufacturing and pricing offers a much more straightforward pathway to affordable drugs than the current one, which relies on waiting out years of patents, followed by the entry of multiple generics manufacturers into the market to eventually compete prices down.