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Should U.S. regulate profits gained from COVID-19 treatments?

Big profits for big pharmaA new national survey finds that the majority of Americans believe the government should regulate profits drug companies make from treatments related to COVID-19.

STAT News shared results of the survey, which found 78 percent of American respondents surveyed between April 20 and April 26 believe the U.S. government should control the price of COVID-19 treatments; while 53 percent said drug companies shouldn’t make a profit from these drugs at all.

Drugmakers appear to be keenly aware of consumers’ feelings. In April, Johnson & Johnson announced it would make any COVID-19 vaccine it developed available to the public on a not-for-profit basis. Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences made a similar announcement when it said its current supply of remdesivir, a potential treatment for COVID-19, would be offered for free.

Some groups, including Public Citizen, want drug companies to take a step further, calling on Gilead Sciences to share its formula for remdesivir. Others argue that lowing the reward for innovation may result in lower investment in research and development.

“The biopharmaceutical industry would be wise to see the important difference between maximizing and optimizing profits,” says David Maris, the article’s author, who is  with Phalanx Investment Partners, the company that conducted the study. Maris believes that giving up COVID-19 profits would be a small price to pay if it earns the drug industry goodwill.

Do you think drug companies should forgo profits for drugs that treat COVID-19 and its symptoms? Share your thoughts.