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People making money off COVID: No big deal

covid-19 economy
(© Alexander Borisenko –

COVID-19 has been the source of plenty of outrage. Why, then, has there been no outrage on how much money is being made off the pandemic?

The latest there is the news that Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla sold $5.6 million in company stock on Monday, hours after the announcement that the vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech SE was found to be more than 90 percent effective, which pushed the value of the stock through the stratosphere, for obvious reasons.

A deep look at this story tells us that Bourla sold the stock under a 10b5-1 plan that was put into motion months ago, the presumption being that he couldn’t have known when putting the sale into motion that the stock was about to go up significantly in value because of any particular news on any specific date.

But the timing of when he put the 10b5-1 plan into place, the day before a Pfizer press release touting progress on the vaccine, and possible regulatory review coming in October, looks “very suspicious,” according to one insider-trading expert, if we need an expert to confirm to us non-experts what appears to be obvious.

I mean, I get it – rah, rah, capitalism.

Pfizer took the risk to invest its money and resources into developing a vaccine candidate, it should stand to share in the rewards.

That sounds all well and good, but you do have to add to the context here that Pfizer and BioNTech SE have been able to negotiate multibillion-dollar deals with the U.S. and EU for their vaccine, which puts a new twist on the concept of risk when you think about it.

It all feels … icky.

You know, some people making fortunes, while millions of other people have lost their jobs, small businesses are shuttered forever, people are dying from COVID, from missed cancer screenings, from despair.

And yet, no outrage.

Business as usual.

It’s just people making money.


Story by Chris Graham