John Nichols, The Nation - Pandemic crisis opportunities blown or abused

John Nichols, The Nation
Pandemic crisis opportunities blown or abused


In the midst of every crisis,” the famous scientist Albert Einstein famously said, “lies great opportunity.”

Which then raises the question: once you have successfully seized an opportunity, what do you make of it?

For Albert Bourla, chairman and chief executive of the Pfizer pharmaceutic giant, the Coronavirus pandemic gave him and his company the opportunity, in his own words, “to use all of the resources and expertise we had at our disposal to help protect populations globally against this deadly virus.”

The result: one of the world’s best vaccines against the novel Coronavirus. And Pfizer didn’t stop with an excellent preventative from getting COVID-19, the company also created Paxlovid, an apparently highly successful treatment for those in the early stages of the illness.  Two blessings from the curse of the pandemic, which, Bourla asserted, “not only made a positive difference in the world, but I believe they have fundamentally changed Pfizer and its culture forever.”

It would be an enormous blessing if Pfizer could change its culture of greed, evident in the pricing and possessiveness policies that gave Pfizer a record-breaking more than $80 billion profit for 2021, almost half of which came from sales of its COVID vaccine.

Corporate projections show no sign of culture change in 2022, with an expected annual profit of roughly $100 billion, with more than half coming from the COVID vaccine and Paxlovid.

Who knew Pfizer’s corporate culture was like the proverbial aircraft carrier when it comes to changing course?

But pharmaceutical profiteering is just one business betrayal examined in our guest John Nichols’ new book Coronavirus Criminals and Pandemic Profiteers. How corporate kingpins and politicians blew a critical opportunity to do well by the American, indeed, by all-the-world’s people and instead abused them for monetary or political advantage is the subject of a book whose opening salvo is … I wrote this in a rage.



John Nichols is a national affairs correspondent for The Nation and the author of the new book Coronavirus Criminals and Pandemic Profiteers.  His previous books include The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party: The Enduring Legacy of Henry Wallace’s Anti-Fascist, Anti-Racist Politics (Verso). He’s also the author of Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America, from Nation Books, and co-author, with Robert W. McChesney, of People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy.



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