Big pharmaceutical companies are being put under the microscope, as Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced his office is launching an investigation into Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson for potentially engaging in gain-of-function research and misleading the public about doing so.
In an announcement Monday, Paxton said he is also investigating whether those same companies violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by misrepresenting their efficacy.
Paxton says his investigation concerns “potentially fraudulent activity that falls outside the scope of legal immunity granted to manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccine,” which will force the companies to turn over documents that have otherwise been barred from public disclosure.
“The development of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the representations made by and knowledge of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, are of profound interest to the public’s health and welfare. This investigation aims to discover the truth,” said Paxton. “This pandemic was a deeply challenging time for Americans. If any company illegally took advantage of consumers during this period or compromised people’s safety to increase their profits, they will be held responsible. If public health policy was developed on the basis of flawed or misleading research, the public must know. The catastrophic effects of the pandemic and subsequent interventions forced on our country and citizens deserve intense scrutiny, and we are pursuing any hint of wrongdoing to the fullest.”
Michelle Evans, the legislative director of Texans for Vaccine Choice, celebrated the move.
“Texans for Vaccine Choice applauds AG Paxton’s much-needed investigation to enforce transparency and accuracy in advertising,” said Evans. “For too long, pharmaceutical companies have shrouded themselves in immunity from liability and protections from public health agencies, using that leniency to market junk science as truth.”