[Ip-health] Stat: Lawmakers ask U.S. Army to hold a hearing on Zika vaccine licensing

Andrew S. Goldman andrew.goldman at keionline.org
Wed Jun 14 10:01:07 PDT 2017

Stat's article on the Florida letters can be read here:

Lawmakers ask U.S. Army to hold a hearing on Zika vaccine licensing

By ED SILVERMAN @Pharmalot

JUNE 14, 2017

A group of Florida lawmakers is urging the U.S. Army to hold a hearing on
its plan to give Sanofi an exclusive license to develop a Zika virus
vaccine, a move that has raised concerns the product may be priced too high
for many Americans, even though it was developed with taxpayer funds.

In a June 13 letter, eight U.S. House Democrats and one Republican
expressed concern about the “potential for monopolistic practices that
would, effectively, keep this life-saving vaccine out of reach for far too
many of our constituents.” At the same time, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who is
also a Democrat, sent his own letter in which he urged the Army to limit
the price for the vaccine.

Both missives noted that Sanofi, which is one of the world’s largest
vaccine makers, has already won a $43 million government grant and stands
to receive another $130 million to run late-stage trials. Consequently, the
representatives argued that awarding an exclusive license to the company
would add “insult to injury,” and they want the Army to explain how such a
license is reasonable or necessary.

This the second time in recent weeks that lawmakers from a Gulf state have
decried plans for an exclusive license. Last month, Louisiana Gov. John
Edwards warned Acting U.S. Army Secretary Robert Speer that if the
mosquito-borne virus spreads, the possibility of monopoly pricing “could
cripple state budgets and threaten public health.”

The letters may ratchet up the pressure on the Army to change course amid
cries from still other lawmakers and consumer advocates to demand that
Sanofi agree to some kind of pricing agreement as part of any licensing
deal. As we reported recently, however, the company in April rejected such
a request from the Army, although overall licensing talks are still under


Andrew S. Goldman
Counsel, Policy and Legal Affairs
Knowledge Ecology International
andrew.goldman at keionline.org // www.twitter.com/ASG_KEI
tel.: +1.202.332.2670

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