President Joe Biden’s nominee to become the new head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the recipient of nearly $300 million in research grants from Pfizer.
The nominee in question is Dr. Monica Bertagnolli, who currently serves as director of the National Cancer Institute. She would be replacing NIH Acting Director Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak, a close associate of billionaire Bill Gates, who was tapped to temporarily take over after the resignation of long-time Director Dr. Francis Collins.
Bertagnolli, a surgical oncologist, was described by Biden in a statement as someone who “has spent her career pioneering scientific discovery and pushing the boundaries of what is possible to improve cancer prevention and treatment for patients, and ensuring that patients in every community have access to quality care.”
“Dr. Bertagnolli is a world-class physician-scientist whose vision and leadership will ensure NIH continues to be an engine of innovation to improve the health of the American people,” the statement continued.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, former chief presidential medical advisor and former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview that he personally advocated Bertagnolli’s selection as the next NIH director.
“She’s got the kind of personality that I think is important for the director of NIH,” said Fauci. “She’s firm in her principles, but she is a very likable, easy to get along with, people person.”
He added that Bertagnolli has a “very solid academic record.”
But what the White House refused to point out is that from 2015 to 2021, Bertagnolli received more than $290.8 million from Pfizer from over 110 research grants. This amount makes up around 89 percent of all the research grants she received during that period.
“Does this mean that Dr. Bertagnolli is personally corrupt? Not at all,” noted Democratic presidential nominee Robert F. Kennedy Jr. “But it does mean that she will probably represent the viewpoints and priorities of the pharmaceutical industry. This is how agencies are captured.”
Bertagnolli received money from multiple Big Pharma companies
According to data published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, while Bertagnolli received most of her grant funding from Pfizer, she also received money from other pharmaceutical corporations, including Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. She also received grants from Genentech, Merck and Seagen.
Bertagnolli usually received this money through the organizations she was overseeing to fund research projects in which she was a principal investigator. As principal investigator, Bertagnolli would have been tasked with administering the grant funding.
The largest Big Pharma-funded grants to Bertagnolli went to the Alliance Foundation Trials and the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. She served as president of both organizations.
Bertagnolli’s close connections to Big Pharma companies are especially important because the NIH has considerable influence over their activities, including through signing off on grants for drug research and development.
Watch this episode of “Front Page with Scott Goulet” as host Scott Goulet discusses how the NIH has secretly renewed a nearly $600,000 taxpayer-funded grant for the EcoHealth Alliance.
by: Arsenio Toledo
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