President Donald Trump accused drugmaker Pfizer of playing "corrupt games" because the company did not release data on its coronavirus vaccine until after the presidential election. Trump made his comments on Friday during another press briefing in which he took no questions from reporters and refused to concede the 2020 election to President-elect Joe Biden, more than two weeks later. On Friday, Pfizer formally requested emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Its most recent analysis shows the vaccine is 95% effective against the coronavirus.
Trump's Friday press conference was meant to serve as an announcement for his drug price reforms, which would start on Jan. 1. His comments veered towards criticism of Pfizer and other drug companies testing vaccines. He accused them of delaying the announcement of their results until after Nov. 3. Trump claimed the companies originally planned to release data in October but did not "because of what I'm doing," referring to his drug price reforms.
President Trump on Pfizer vaccine: "You wouldn't have a vaccine if it weren't for me for another four years." pic.twitter.com/dQtHIvkDsv— The Hill (@thehill) November 20, 2020
"They waited and waited and waited, and they thought they could come out with it a few days after the election," Trump said. "And it would have probably had an impact. Who knows? Maybe it wouldn’t have. I’m sure they would’ve found the ballot someplace, the Democrats and the group. These corrupt games will not deter us from doing what is right for the American people. And I will always put American patients first."
Later, Trump accused the large pharmaceutical companies of spending "millions of dollars of negative advertisements against me during the campaign, which I won, by the way." Trump then pointed out he received "almost 74 million votes," although Biden has received an estimated 79.7 million votes and is projected to win the Electoral College vote. Trump has also alleged voter fraud led to Biden's victory, although there is no evidence of widespread fraud.
"We had big pharma against us. We had the media against us," Trump said Friday. "We had big tech against us. We had a lot of dishonesty against us. But big pharma alone ran millions and millions of dollars in ads. In fact, I looked at it and I said, who is it? I’ve never seen anything quite like it."
Pfizer announced its vaccine was more than 90% effective six days after the election. Sources told the Washington Post on Nov. 12 that Trump believed the timing was evidence of a "medical deep state" that wanted to hurt his re-election campaign. Trump also criticized Pfizer in a series of tweets. He claimed, without evidence, that the FDA and Democrats "didn’t want to have me get a Vaccine WIN, prior to the election, so instead it came out five days later — As I’ve said all along!”
On Friday, hours before Trump's briefing, Pfizer announced plans to officially submit for an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA. The authorization will "potentially enable use of the vaccine in high-risk populations in the U.S. by the middle to end of December 2020," according to the company. Pfizer predicts it will be able to make up to 50 million doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of next year.