If you’re not familiar with journalist Sharyl Atkisson, you should be. In fact, she is who I want to be when I grow up. No, seriously.
In a recent episode of her show Full Measure, Atkisson takes us on a journey to the underbelly of how Fauci’s NIH really works. It’s an understatement to say that there is conflict of interest, and Atkisson, as always, does a masterful job of looking at the issue of government scientists collecting royalties from big pharma while their salaries are paid by you, the taxpayer.
Every year, NIH awards $32 billion on federal grants to 56,000 different entities, according to OpenTheBooks.com, a government watchdog group. As Atkisson puts it, this is enough money to effectively purchase the entire American healthcare space. NIH decides which scientists get that money, basically deciding winners and losers. Fauci is good at this. I already wrote about one example months ago. Fauci awarded four scientists a total of $50M. All they had to do in exchange was say that COVID had a natural origin and could not be engineered. Voila – you have a new lab and lots of funding. Congratulations.
Think of the amount of power and influence that can be purchased with $32 billion.
Government scientists get perks in addition to NIH funding. They can collect royalties from big pharmaceutical companies. If you’ve ever worked in the private sector, like I have, one of the first things you likely did at your new job was sign a paper saying that any invention you did on the company payroll belonged to your company, and not to you. But government scientists have a unique arrangement; we taxpayers pay their salaries but they get to collect royalties for things they invented on our dime. Do we taxpayers get those royalties? No, we do not.
This arrangement is not new, either. In the 1980s the Bayh-Dole Act was passed, purportedly to accelerate the commercialization of federally funded research. Government grant recipients, mostly universities, can hold patents on inventions, and can license those inventions to industry. These licensing agreements can, and do, generate lucrative royalties back to the research institution. The Act was meant to spin out government inventions and create more startup companies to commercialize the federal tech. But as with most things, Bayh-Dole has a dark underbelly.
Over the years, the royalty arrangements have become quite complex. Taxpayers fund a government scientist in a government lab. The NIH most likely provided grant money to the institution, so the NIH licenses the invention to private industry, which pays royalties back to NIH, and they split it with the scientist. Even though we taxpayers fund the initial work, details of these royalties are held tightly and secretively.
Rand Paul recently raked Fauci over the coals, trying to get him to divulge secrets about these royalty payments. Fauci did the usual “I don’t recall” maneuvers. We wrote about this as well, and Fauci forgot so many things, we needed a two-part article (Part 1 and Part 2). Rand Paul zeroed in on him, asking who on the vaccine committee had received royalties from jab companies. Fauci arrogantly reminded Paul that people who receive these royalties don’t have to disclose them on a financial statement, courtesy of the fine print in the Bayh-Dole Act.
In short, it’s none of our business.
OpenTheBooks.com filed lawsuits and discovered that nearly 2,500 scientists received $325 million in secretive royalties. That’s about $135,000 for each taxpayer-funded white-coat-wearing scientist. Details on the origin of the money were redacted.
Pfizer is one such third party. NIH helped invent the vaccine, then licensed the technology to Pfizer which then gave NIH a kickback royalty.
In effect, Atkisson says that this means the federal government is not operating according to plan. Instead, unelected bureaucrats like Fauci are running the show, telling Americans to shut up and ‘pay up’.
By the way, it should come as no surprise that Fauci has refused to disclose his personal royalty payments, telling Senator Paul they were very small. Fauci characterizes himself as a lowly government worker on a government salary. Except he’s not. Actually, before his retirement Fauci was the highest paid government worker at an annual salary of $456,608. And that doesn’t include royalties.
NIH first flat out denied the OpenTheBooks.com Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, then hired expensive attorneys (at taxpayer expense) to slow-roll the release of the 3,000 pages requested. They tried the 300 pages per month for 10 months approach. You know, because they are lowly government workers on a lowly salary. Fauci is one of these royalty receivers but he has not to date quantified his personal royalty payout other than to say it is very small.
But That’s Not All
Shortly after Bayh-Dole, the Prescription Drug User Fee Act was passed in 1992, largely in part due to public outcry that HIV research and treatments were not being done fast enough. The FDA complained about its limited budget, so someone had the ingenious idea for private industry to supplement the budget. What could go wrong? This passage allows the FDA to collect fees from pharmaceutical companies. It helps the FDA streamline approval (I bet it does). The law has been reauthorized every five years since 1992.
Fast forward to the COVID era and Pfizer’s “fee” to the FDA amounted to $2.8 million. Pfizer made a wire transfer to the US Treasury! But this is just a fee. It couldn’t possibly be a conflict of interest.
The FDA drank its own Koolaid, and you can tell with sentences like this: “User fees provide instrumental funding for the FDA’s independent review of medical products that make a difference in the lives of all Americans, without compromising the agency’s commitment to scientific integrity, public health and regulatory standards, patient safety, and transparency.
In closing, FDA’s 2021 budget topped $6 billion. While the federal budget paid for 54%, industry “user fees” like those from Pfizer paid the other half.
But there’s no conflict of interest here.
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Fed Up Texas Chick is a contributing writer for The Tenpenny Report. She’s a rocket scientist turned writer, having worked in the space program for many years. She is a seasoned medical writer and researcher who is fighting for medical freedom for all of us through her work.