Another press briefing, another conspiracy theory.
President Donald Trump suggested Friday that the drug companies working on coronavirus vaccines deliberately withheld successful results until after the election as a revenge-fueled plot to kick him out of office due to his crusade against prescription drug prices.
In his first public briefing in seven days, Trump announced “groundbreaking” new rules to lower drug prices but couldn’t help veering into election gripes and outlandish conspiracy theories.
“You wouldn’t have vaccine if it weren’t for me, for another four years,” he said.
“Pfizer and others even decided to not assess the results of their vaccine, in other words, not come out with a vaccine, until just after the election. That’s because of what I did with [his executive order on] favored nations and these other elements... They were going to come in October, but they decided to delay it because of what I’m doing, which is fine with me because, frankly, this is just a very big thing, what I’m doing here, I don’t know if anyone’s going to appreciate it.”
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech filed for emergency use authorization with the FDA on Friday after their coronavirus vaccine proved highly effective in clinical trials. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said this week that the company “didn’t conspire with anyone” to delay results.
“The elections were always for us an artificial line. It may have been very important for the president but not for us,” he said at a New York Times event.
Among the executive orders announced by Trump on Friday were measures to force middlemen to pass along drug price discounts to patients, and the so-called “most favored nation rule,” which allows Medicare to pay the lowest prices for drugs among OECD nations.
Trump made drug prices a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign but waited until just two months before his term ends to announce the executive orders. On Friday, he blamed the delay on complicated statutory rules.
Then, in an apparent acknowledgment of Joe Biden’s win, he said, “I just hope they keep it, I hope they have the courage to keep it because the powerful drug lobby, Big Pharma, is putting pressure on people like you wouldn’t believe.”
He used the briefing to again falsely claim that he had won the Nov. 3 election, hours before Georgia was set to certify its election results after a hand recount.
“Big Pharma ran millions of dollars of negative advertisements against me during the campaign, which I won by the way, but y’know, we’ll find that out,” he said. “Almost 74 million votes. We had Big Pharma against us, we had the media against us, we had big tech against us, we had a lot of dishonesty against us.”