Thursday, March 31, 2022

Fierce Pharma Politics—Biden puts COVID-19 transition task force on the job

Welcome to the Fierce Pharma political roundup, where each Monday we’ll highlight developments in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere that could affect drug pricing and how drugmakers operate. 

Two days after news organizations called the U.S. presidential election for Joe Biden, the President-elect is laying out his COVID-19 advisory board, tapping experts in the fields of infectious diseases, regulatory matters and more. 

Co-chairing the coronavirus transition task force will be former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former FDA commissioner David Kessler and Yale University associate professor of medicine and epidemiology Marcella Nunez-Smith. Alongside them, a long list of health experts—including ousted BARDA director Rick Bright and Michael Osterholm, the director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy—will serve on the team. 

While campaigning to be president, Biden said he’d follow the science with his COVID-19 response, including on the important subject of vaccines. The Biden transition team says it plans to work with state and local officials to determine conditions around the country and respond appropriately in efforts to reopen schools and businesses safely. 

RELATED: Trump, Biden spar over COVID-19 vaccines at debate. Will it help public trust in the process? 

COVID-19 is “one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said in a statement. The newly unveiled board will “help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations,” he added. 

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris set to meet with the team this morning, according to a schedule released late Sunday. Afterward, Biden will give remarks on the battle against the pandemic. 

RELATED: Pfizer, BioNTech see stock, hope soar as they say COVID-19 vax 90% effective, plot November EUA 

Meanwhile, the pandemic response could soon get a major boost as Pfizer on Monday reported its vaccine was more than 90% effective in early analysis. The company could be on track to seek an emergency use authorization later this month if safety data come back positive.

Pfizer’s vaccine isn’t a part of the Operation Warp Speed program, but the company has taken an order from the U.S. for 100 million doses for $1.95 billion. The deal also includes an option for an additional 500 million doses. 

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