IG Rules That Trump’s Vaccine Czar Will Not Be Required To Disclose Pharma Ties
A government watchdog has revealed that Moncef Slaoui, the co-director of the White House’s "Operation Warp Speed," will not be required to disclose or divest his investments in pharmaceutical companies, according to The Hill.
- Operation Warp Speed is a program that is working towards finding a Covid-19 vaccine and investing federal funding in private companies to do so.
- The advocacy groups Public Citizen and Lower Drug Prices Now issued a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) because of Slaoui’s deep ties with the pharmaceutical industry.
- Slaoui is a venture capitalist who previously sat on the board of Moderna, a pharmaceutical company that is now receiving hundreds of millions in government funding to find a Covid-19 vaccine.
- The Hill reported that Slaoui “resigned from the board just before taking the administration job,” but Securities and Exchanges Commission filings show that he “still held more than 156,000 stock options in the company.” Those were worth about $10 million at the time of his appointment.
- Because Slaoui is on a contract and isn’t an official government employee, he is not subject to the same disclosure rules. The groups argue that he should be classified as a government employee so that this loophole could be prevented.
- Margarida Jorge, campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now, said in a statement:
"There is no reason to believe that Mr. Slaoui will operate any differently than the many other former Pharma executives who litter the administration and consistently protect the interests of their industry allies over public health and patients."