Pfizer’s CEO has been confirmed positive for Covid-19. He revealed this in a series tweets posted Monday. The drug giant’s chief executive added that he was taking his company’s antiviral, Paxlovid, slipping in some free advertising for the pricey new pill.
“Our efforts have been so successful in fighting this disease, I feel confident I can make a quick recovery.,” Albert Bourla tweeted, praising his employees for their efforts.
While Paxlovid was approved last month on an emergency-use basis to treat vaccinated individuals with Covid-19 symptoms, Pfizer’s own data warns its abilities in fighting the virus in vaccinated patients are negligible at best.
Paxlovid was not approved. However, it is available for immediate use by FDA in order to treat mild-to moderate COVID-19 in high risk patients 12+. See safety info: https://t.co/XqokFVKBC7.
— Albert Bourla (@AlbertBourla) August 15, 2022
In May, the Centers for Disease Control warned about rebound symptoms after treatment with antivirals. Several prominent Paxlovid users, including President Joe Biden and Anthony Fauci, experienced these symptoms.
Between the sales of its mRNA-based vaccine and the new antivirals, Pfizer’s profits have reached unprecedented highs this quarter. Pfizer reported earnings of $9.91 billion for its second quarter 2022. The company expects to sell vaccine doses worth $32 billion and Paxlovid at $22 billion this year. Total revenues are projected to be as high as $102 million.
Pfizer’s sales had already doubled in 2021, leading some to accuse the company of ‘pandemic profiteering’ by jacking up the cost of shots for wealthy countries and withholding the formula from poorer nations. Pfizer claimed that the costs of testing and developing the drug should be reimbursed, even though almost half of the funding was from Germany. Oxfam estimated last year that Moderna and Pfizer were charging governments up to $41 billion more for vaccine production.
Pfizer’s unprecedented lobbying power, beefed up by two years of pandemic profits, has given the firm an outsize role in making public health policy. After each round of new booster shots, they continue to be embraced even when health authorities claim that they aren’t necessary. Critics argue that the virus is mutating faster than new boosters can be designed, and health officials acknowledge the vaccines’ failure to block transmission renders them minimally useful in containing the epidemic.
Many public health professionals have voiced concerns about the influence of drug companies on health policy. Rotavirus vaccine developer Paul Offit warned last year after Biden followed Bourla’s lead rather than the FDA’s in recommending Covid boosters to Americans that the professionals’ role was being eclipsed by Pfizer. “Pharmaceutical companies behave like public agencies in the field of health,” he lamented.
The CDC announced earlier in the month that it had withdrawn most of its advisories for the pandemic-era, belatedly admitting the fact that the virus is now endemic throughout the US. It is part of a general trend away from heavy-handed protocols like lockdowns and vaccination mandates that, despite severely disrupting individuals’ lives and upending the economy, nevertheless left over 1 million dead with the virus in the US alone.