Next week, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel will testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on the price of his company’s COVID-19 vaccine.
He’ll face an unfriendly audience. Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., claims that companies like Moderna profited off COVID at Americans’ expense. He’s eager to “rein in the greed of these pharmaceutical pandemic profiteers.”
His arguments are ignorant of basic economics. Incentives matter. The possibility of future profit is what draws investors and companies into pharmaceutical research in the first place. If lawmakers effectively criminalize profit, then biomedical research and development will grind to a halt—and society won’t have innovative medicines for Sen. Sanders to demagogue about.