Have some members of Congress reported substantial investments in the developers of COVID-19 vaccines?

Tuesday, October 5, 2021
By Austin Tannenbaum

OpenSecrets, which tracks money in U.S. politics, in 2018 compiled data about Congressional stock-market holdings based on lawmakers' financial disclosures. It documented:

  • 47 Congressional investors in Pfizer, with holdings between $2,630,444 and $8,206,395.
  • 47 Congressional investors in Johnson & Johnson, with holdings between $2,545,111 and $4,688,062.

OpenSecrets pointed out that these investments could constitute a conflict of interest, writing,

“Lawmakers could lose massive chunks of their personal wealth if their legislation hurts those companies’ bottom lines.”

Many members also receive campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry. According to health care media outlet Stat, “72 Senators and 302 [House] members cashed a check from the pharmaceutical industry ahead of the 2020 election”—more than two-thirds of Congress. COVID-19 providers Johnson & Johnson, Astra Zeneca, and Pfizer are included; the latter contributed to 228 lawmakers.

Moderna, another COVID-19 vaccine maker, is privately held.

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