Drugmaker CEOs sign rare pledge

Sept. 8, 2020

A group of CEOs from nine major pharma companies have come together to sign a pledge related to the coronavirus vaccine. In the statement, the company heads all agree to not submit a vaccine for regulatory approval until it has been proven to be safe.

The company CEOs who signed the pledge were from: Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Novavax, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Moderna, BioNTech, and Pfizer. 

The move comes as more Americans express skepticism over the faster timeline being used to develop, manufacture and approve a coronavirus vaccine. The looming Nov. 3 election date is also playing into these fears.

Last week, the CDC sent an “urgent” memo to states directing them to have distribution sites ready for a coronavirus vaccine by Nov. 1. Over the weekend, President Trump spoke about impending approval date for the vaccine, saying that it could be ready before the end of the year, or before a very “special date,” referring to the election. Presidential hopeful Joe Biden expressed concerns over the weekend that Trump could be playing politics with the vaccine and said the regulatory process needs to be transparent.

In the pledge, the pharma CEOs promise to not let politics interfere with their quest to get a vaccine approved.

“We, the undersigned biopharmaceutical companies, want to make clear our on-going commitment to developing and testing potential vaccines for COVID-19 in accordance with high ethical standards and sound scientific principles," the statement said.

Read the full Wall Street Journal report.