Bicameral, Bipartisan TRACK Act Introduced to Provide Transparency into Taxpayer Pharmaceutical R&D Spending—as Vaccine Makers Prepare Price Spikes

Washington, D.C.—Just now, U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Ranking Member of the House Ways & Means Health Subcommittee, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), member of the Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, and Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, filed the Taxpayer Research and Contributions Knowledge (TRACK) Act (H.R. 885) to provide taxpayers easy access to an accounting of how their investments in pharmaceutical research and development are spent and the corresponding terms of federal funding agreements. This legislation comes as vaccine manufacturers prepare to increase COVID-19 vaccine prices, including for the Moderna vaccine which was developed almost exclusively with taxpayer funds.

“Taxpayers continue to serve as the angel investors in pharmaceutical research and development, providing tens of billions of dollars annually to research as well as generous tax breaks—and like any investor, they deserve a detailed accounting of how their funds are used,” said Congressman Doggett. “On COVID-19 alone, taxpayers spent over $30 billion to develop, manufacture, and purchase vaccines. While pleased to see the many miracle cures and scientific advances these investments have provided, consumers should not be forced to pay multiple times for these drugs—in the research lab, at the pharmacy counter, in their insurance premiums, and in taxpayer dollars for federal health programs. Moderna has acknowledged taxpayers paid for the development of its vaccine, yet the company is planning to roughly quadruple the price of the vaccine to $110-130 per dose. Meanwhile, the terms of the federal R&D and purchase agreements remain secret. Taxpayers deserve complete transparency into how their dollars have been spent and fair pricing for the inventions they supported.”

“U.S. taxpayers have footed more than their fair share of the R&D costs for drugs developed by massive pharmaceutical companies, and in return, Big Pharma has given us the highest drug prices in the world and an unacceptable lack of transparency,” said Senator Merkley. “With over $30 billion dollars of taxpayer money used on the research, development, and manufacturing of treatments for just COVID-19 alone, the least we can do is make sure there’s transparency so we know who is getting our money and how they are using it.”

“The American people deserve to see where every dollar the federal government takes from their paychecks is actually going,” said Senator Braun.