The latest drop of the explosive “Twitter Files” revealed how Big Pharma capitalized on the COVID-19 pandemic and used its new-found power to push its narrative on social media.
New revelations from investigative journalist Lee Fang are contained in the batch titled “How the pharmaceutical industry lobbied social media to shape content around vaccine policy.”
An industry plagued by decades of fraud, corruption and criminality managed to quickly rebrand itself as the savior of humanity during the COVID-19 crisis.
But nothing inherently changed. Big Pharma still values shareholders’ profits more than anything. https://t.co/VaSxEN1v4M
— Jasmin ᵕ̈ (@kfinew) January 10, 2023
Among the bombshell, discoveries is how Pfizer partner BioNTech attempted to manipulate platforms to suppress those demanding low-cost generic vaccines for low-income nations.
Fang noted that Big Pharma immediately saw the opportunity to expand profits as it moved to the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. Part of their push was “a massive lobbying blitz to crush any effort to share patents.”
Pharmaceutical giants pursued punishments for multiple countries that worked to provide low-cost vaccines, including Chile, Columbia, and Hungary.
Fang reported that Twitter was among the social media platforms approached by BioNTech. Censors were asked to target those who called for generic vaccines to lower the drug costs. That request was reportedly supported by the German government.
Content moderators were also asked to monitor “activist hashtags” targeting Big Pharma profits.
And those profits kept rolling in.
Pfizer is expected to become the first $100 billion pharmaceutical company when final 2022 figures are released. The total take for last year could be as high as $101.3 billion.
Of course, the company’s BioNTech-partnered COVID-19 vaccines are at the forefront of the unprecedented surge in revenue.
For Pfizer, the number is an astronomical jump over its 2018 revenue of $53.7 billion. As for Johnson & Johnson, the previous record-holder for biopharma revenue, its 2020 take was $82.6 billion.
SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges estimated that Pfizer’s COVID vaccine Comirnaty brought in $29.7 billion and its oral COVID drug Paxlovid added $24.2 billion last year.
Far from merely being the virtual town square or community bulletin board, social media platforms such as Twitter are being proven as vehicles to push the narratives of both government and powerful industries. It is the public’s responsibility to realize the extent to which it is being manipulated.