MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Congress approved $8.3 billion to fight the coronavirus A good portion of that money will go toward development of a vaccine, which could be at least a year away.

Gerald Posner, author of the upcoming book “Pharma: Greed, Lies and the Poisoning of America,” stopped by the CBS4 Studio to discuss the pharmaceutical industry’s role in regards to the outbreak.

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Is Big Pharma An Obstacle?pharmaceutical industry

“They are a speed bump, but not right now. What you just sent a second ago, $8 billion approved today, that is fantastic. That taxpayer money is going to go to research. We are going to get a vaccine in record time. The bad news is record time means a year to 15 months. The question then becomes somebody has to manufacture it – 100 million doses maybe in the U.S. That is only pharmaceutical firms that can do it. When that comes around next year, they are going to have to do it near cost. They can’t make a profit on it. This is a worldwide emergency. We can see it, 300 million children not going to school from pre-K to high school around the world. Pharmaceutical companies have to come up to the plate. Taxpayers are putting in now with research money. When they produce next year, I would like to see them do it near cost.”

Why Does A Vaccine Take So Long?

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“It’s the human testing. Because in between going from the Petri dish and the laboratory to actually giving it to us at all the drug stores at CVS and Walgreens, they tested on a group of people. Those are the brave people who are the test subjects to find out if it works or not or has terrible side effects. So before they give it to straight to us, there is a period in which they have to make sure it is effective against the virus and also it is safe for us to take.”

Any Risks With This Expedited Process?

“Well, there is always a possibility of a negative effect. How many times do you hear somebody say, ‘I took a flu vaccination and I got the flu?’ Which isn’t really possible, but people say that. What we are going to have in a couple of months, maybe by April, are drugs to treat coronavirus, which we don’t have now. Antiviral drugs. So it’s not a vaccine where you get an inoculation and can’t get the virus at all. But this will be the case if you do get sick, you take the antiviral drug and at least it won’t be as serious. That will be a big step forward. Because what are we worried about? Not just getting sick, but possibly dying, even though that’s a small risk. If you take away the possibility of dying and you just say to people you’re going to get sick, take this drug, that will be a big step forward.”

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