Have an experimental drug that needs rapid authorization from the FDA in order to be sold to the masses? Looking to siphon billions of dollars from the U.S. taxpayer for your newfound pharmaceutical product? In today’s America, you can buy yourself a former FDA commissioner, and use the public-sector private-sector revolving door system of corruption to impose your will on the American public, and make a windfall for your executives and shareholders in the process.
That appears to be the exact strategy utilized by Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and the company that founded Moderna, which have rostered a series of former top ranking government officials into top positions in their respective organizations.
Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, the ultimate personification of the revolving door mechanism, sits on the board of Pfizer. The frequent Pfizer-sponsored CNBC guest also maintains several thousand shares of Pfizer stock, and he is compensated well into the six figures on an annual basis. Gottlieb earns millions from his continually increasing board appointments to a plethora of pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.
The pandemic profiteer also sits on the boards of Illumina and Tempus Labs, which sell FDA-authorized COVID-19 test kits. Additionally, he sits on the board of Aetion, which has partnered with the FDA on researching COVID-19 policy.
Stephen Hahn, who led the FDA when it authorized Moderna’s COVID shots, recently took an executive level post with Flagship Pioneering, the company that launched Moderna. Flagship holds 20 million shares of Moderna stock, which as of October 16, 2021, is valued at $6.5 Billion. They earned $1.4 billion through the sale of Moderna stock earlier this year.
There is virtually no separation between Flagship and Moderna. Flagship CEO Noubar Afeyan, who co-founded Moderna and owns over 2 million shares of Moderna stock, is the current chairman of Moderna. Additionally, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel is listed as a Flagship “special partner.”
In September, Hahn was appointed the Chief Medical Officer of Flagship-launched YourBio health, a company that sells COVID-19 testing kits.
Mark McClellan was the FDA commissioner from 2002-2004 (and served in other high-ranking government posts). He has maintained a board of directors seat with pharma giant Johnson & Johnson since 2013. McClellan owns thousands of shares in the company and receives around $300,000 annually.