Pfizer: of Drugs and Politics
Pfizer just announced the most successful Covid-19 vaccine to date. An American pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer’s major announcements often affect the stocks globally. Think; Viagra. In this instance, not just the Pfizer stock values increased. Due to implications for the global pandemic narrative, other companies’ stock values soared or plummeted with the announcement.
This is hopeful news for many. The governmental restrictions relating to Covid-19, the panic that swept across many communities, affected most of the world’s population. People who believe no restrictions are enough, people who believe the restrictions are too much, even the small minority of people who don’t believe the virus exists. Something these groups have in common is that the restrictions affected many of their lives. And Pfizer’s announcement gives the affected of all three groups hope for an end.
Meaning that stock market fluctuations aside, Pfizer’s message is, for many, a message of hope. And hope, is a valuable commodity. Begging the question; Is it a coincidence that Pfizer’s announcement came just after the United States presidential elections? The Trump administration, with myriad faults, received gigantic turn out from supporting voters, despite four years of highly divisive political decisions and multiple criticisms. One loud criticism is Trump’s management of the Covid-19 crisis. In light of that, how many more Americans would have voted for Trump if Pfizer announced the vaccine the day before the 2020 elections?
Would the media have remembered the incentives Trump offered for vaccine research? Trump attempting to secure exclusive American access to potential vaccines researched in Germany? Probably not all the media. But it would have certainly given the pro-Trump media some very strong talking points.
This leaves us with three possibilities. The announcement’s timing was a complete coincidence. Or the announcement’s timing was deliberate for political reasons indirectly affecting finances. Or the announcement’s timing was deliberate for directly financial reasons.
The second and third possibilities invite other questions. Trump’s incentives may have made facilitated vaccine research, but Trump famously alienated some giant American corporations earlier in his administration. Attempting to force them to take jobs from the rest of the world and give them to America, Trump will have upset one set of his extremely wealthy fellows and elated another. Extremely wealthy people hold stakes in multiple giant corporations. Trump’s individual history with Pfizer itself may not be the only determining factor for a political motivation to delay announcing.
On the other hand, a directly financial motive is arguable. While announcing before or during the election still helps Pfizer’s stocks, it would share limelight with another important event, projecting less soaring in stock values. It is the first possibility however, or rather, its denial, that sets the moral tone for all these questions. If the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine announcement timing after the 2020 presidential election is not a complete coincidence… Is waiting to offer so many people worldwide, hope of return to a normal life an ethical business practice?