What happened: At the beginning of the pandemic, there was an international push to share patents and information regarding COVID medicines and vaccines. Pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer and Moderna instead sought to maximize profits—they pressured Twitter to censor users advocating for general low-cost vaccines.
Lobbying for censorship: Pfizer and Moderna’s lobbying group funded a content moderation campaign that helped Twitter develop bots to censor users advocating against vaccine passports, mandates, and policies that coerce vaccination. The lobbying group consistently communicated with Twitter, requesting takedowns of specific users.
Lobbying politicians: The pharmaceutical companies also threatened global leadership in Belgium, Colombia, and Indonesia to stop efforts to share COVID-related patents. At home, these corporations drastically increased lobbying efforts, hiring former federal employees to push federal purchases of vaccines and boosters.
Unprecedented profit: Pfizer and BioNTech brought in $37 billion in revenue from the mRNA vaccine just in 2021. Moderna brought in $17.7 billion in 2021 and has since announced it will increase the cost of its vaccine by 400 percent.
The pandemic presented an opportunity for unprecedented profit. The largest pharmaceutical companies took advantage of it. Through political lobbying, skipping safety research, online censorship, and President Joe Biden’s coercive vaccine mandates, Big Pharma made billions.