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David Lazarus: While decrying 'socialized medicine,' Trump spends billions on COVID drugs

By David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

In his second and final debate with Democratic challenger Joe Biden, President Trump once again bemoaned the prospect of "socialized medicine," a theme he's sounded repeatedly in trying to scare voters into thinking a government takeover of the U.S. healthcare system is imminent if he isn't reelected.

That's not something Biden or any other prominent Democrat is calling for, so Trump's warnings are just another example of his dishonesty and fearmongering.

And, it turns out, his hypocrisy.

On Wednesday, the Trump administration announced it will spend $375 million in taxpayer funds to purchase 300,000 doses of an experimental coronavirus antibody drug from pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co.

The deal also gives the government an option to spend more than $812 million for an additional 650,000 doses.

"This agreement with Eli Lilly is part of Operation Warp Speed's efforts to position the federal government to distribute potential therapeutics, allowing faster distribution if trials are successful," said Alex Azar, Trump's secretary of health and human services.

 

"More good news about COVID-19 therapeutics is constantly emerging," he declared, "and the Trump administration's commitment to supporting potentially lifesaving therapeutics will help deliver these products to American patients without a day's delay."

Just a few things to consider here.

This pledge of $375 million in government funding comes days after Lilly said it was ending a study of the new drug after "trial data" revealed the drug, bamlanivimab, "is unlikely to help hospitalized COVID-19 patients recover from this advanced stage of their disease."

You read that right. It may not work.

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