Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Senate Considers Bill to Block International Distribution of Coronavirus Vaccine

By Brian Orelli, PhD – Sep 11, 2020 at 7:04PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Companies could only distribute the vaccine internationally if domestic need is met.

The U.S. Senate is considering a bill that would prohibit international distribution of coronavirus vaccines made by companies that received federal funding until domestic need for the vaccine has been met. The current version of the bill calls out funding made available under four coronavirus-related laws.

The legislation would presumably affect one of the front-runners, Moderna (MRNA -0.23%), which has received $955 million from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support the development of mRNA-1273. Last month, Moderna said it was in "advanced discussions" with the European Commission to sell 80 million doses of the vaccine and was also talking to the Japanese government about supplying 40 million doses.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ 0.13%), Novavax (NVAX -2.88%), and Merck (MRK 0.64%) would also presumably be affected since they've all taken money from the U.S. government to support their coronavirus vaccines.

A medical provider giving a shot to a child.

Image source: Getty Images.

The legislation only affects companies with U.S. headquarters, so U.K.-based AstraZeneca (AZN 0.08%) and France-based Sanofi (SNY 0.78%) would seem to be exempt from the legislation in its current form. Pfizer (PFE 0.74%) has taken money from BARDA, but the U.S. pharma might be able to get around the rule if its vaccine is sold through its partner BioNTech (BNTX -0.88%), which is headquartered in Germany.

The legislation only applies to vaccines that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, so companies could presumably get around the law by gaining approval in other countries first, selling in those countries, and then gaining approval in the U.S.

The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Thom Tillis, was referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Brian Orelli, PhD has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
356%
 
S&P 500 Returns
118%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 11/26/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.