Durbin seeks clarity on federal efforts to ensure new coronavirus vaccine affordability

Durbin seeks clarity on federal efforts to ensure new coronavirus vaccine affordability

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has asked federal officials to outline efforts they will make to ensure the affordability and availability for any future new coronavirus vaccines.

In a letter last week, Durbin pressed Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins for more details on how they will implement provisions of the recently passed supplemental appropriations to promote affordability.

“If applicable, please describe specific authorities or actions, including use of procurement terms, certain patent rights, information disclosure requirements, insurance coverage determinations or cost-sharing arrangements, or whether such plans include grant, contracting or licensing terms related to reasonable pricing and access,” Durbin wrote.

A spokesperson for HHS referred Health News Illinois to a letter Azar wrote last week to Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Evanston, which assured the lawmaker the department shared the goal of making any vaccine affordable for patients.

“I write to let you know that we are working with the private sector to develop and test a COVID-19 vaccine,” Azar wrote. “Government scientists invented some of the vaccine’s critical aspects and, as part of any agreement with our private sector partners, we intend to work with them to ensure the price that they charge the government for the vaccine is affordable for taxpayers and patients.”

A representative for the institute did not return a request for comment.


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