article by Celine Macura
In January, U.S. House Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene and her husband purchased stock in Gilead Sciences, Inc., a pharmaceutical company responsible for the Veklury antiviral medication which has been used to treat patients hospitalized with COVID-19, after she publicly denied the vaccine when it was offered to her, and spread anti-vax rhetoric via her social media accounts. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Veklury for COVID-19 treatment in October 2020, and Greene purchased the stock on Jan. 21, 2021, according to Feb. 2021 Candidate Disclosure Forms.
However, Gilead Sciences announced in a company statement on Monday that they are stopping Veklury trials in high-risk non-hospitalized patients because it “no longer believe[s] that developing a multiple day IV infusion treatment that requires administration in a healthcare setting addresses an unmet need for non-hospitalized patients.”
Follow the Money: Despite encouraging constituents not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Representative Greene and her husband held stock in three major companies responsible for developing COVID-19 vaccines.
According to Feb 2021 Candidate Financial Disclosure Forms, they held between $1,001- $15,000 (tax deferred) and between $1,001- $15,000 (in dividends) of stock in Pfizer, Inc., the company behind the Pfizer-Biontech COVID-19 vaccine. They also held between $1,001 and $15,000 of stock in Johnson & Johnson, the parent company responsible for the development of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, which has currently been recommended by the FDA for pause due to rare incidents of blood clotting. Finally, she held between $1,001 and $15,000 of stock in AstraZeneca, another pharmaceutical company which made and is selling COVID-19 vaccines.
FinePrint estimates that Greene held ~$170,000 of stock in bio-pharma companies, approximately ten percent of her total value of stock assets, as of Feb. 2021.
Why it matters: These personal financial investments stand in contrast with Greene’s rhetoric surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic. Despite Georgia losing nearly 19,000 people to the virus as of April 15, 2021, Greene has declined the COVID-19 vaccine herself, called for the firing of Dr. Anthony Fauci, and insinuated that physical exercise was adequate protection against the Coronavirus. Even though she delegitimizes the effects of COVID-19, her investments do not consistently match this rhetoric. In addition, denouncing the potentially life-saving vaccine could influence constituents to deny the vaccine and therefore increase use of the Veklury medication produced by Greene’s newest portfolio addition, Gilead Sciences.
Scientific Investments: Greene and her husband’s portfolio also holds thousands of dollars in stock of AbbVie Inc., Amgen, Avanos Medical, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Cardinal Health, Inc., CVS Health Corporation, Gilead Sciences, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Procter & Gamble Company, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited America Depository Shares. In January 2021, they purchased stock in CRISPR Therapeutics AG. In total, their investment portfolio contains 16 different pharmaceutical companies.
Lawmakers’ COVID-19 Investments: In March 2020, several members of the U.S. Congress came under fire for seeming to use insider briefings on the COVID-19 pandemic to inform their investment decisions. At the time of this scandal, Greene was not in office, nor was she elected to office.
Greene’s Rhetoric: Greene posted a video on Twitter earlier this month of her exercising. The caption suggested that exercise was a protection against the COVID-19 virus. While the CDC encourages exercise for overall health improvement, it does not suggest it in replacement of social distancing, mask-wearing, and vaccinations.
The representative also introduced legislation earlier this month to reduce Dr. Anthony Fauci’s salary to $0. Dr. Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to the President, is currently the highest paid government official. She has also used the hashtag #FireFauci on social media posts which denounce the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finally, Greene is adamantly against the implementation of “vaccine passports,” or digital health certificates, which prove one’s vaccination status. Greene introduced a We Will Not Comply Act earlier this month which proposes banning businesses from denying service to non-vaccinated Americans, and allowing Americans to sue businesses which do deny service.
Photo Credit: REUTERS / POOL – stock.adobe.com