Biden’s Pick To Head NIH Got Millions In Research Grants From Pfizer, Big Pharma, Records Show

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Monica Bertagnolli, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), handled nearly $300 million in research grants from major pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, from 2016 to 2021, according to data published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Pfizer, Janssen, AstraZeneca and other pharmaceutical companies gave massive grants to organizations that Bertagnolli oversaw to fund research projects in which she was the principal investigator, according to CMS data. The largest pharmaceutical company grants to Bertagnolli went to Alliance Foundation Trials and the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Foundation; Bertagnolli served as president of both. (RELATED: Pharma Giant Behind Botox, Breast Implants Bankrolled Doctors Pushing Trans Cosmetic Procedures)

The NIH has considerable influence over the activities of pharmaceutical companies, including through grant-making for drug research and development. For example, NIH funding fueled Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s collaboration with pharmaceutical companies to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, with Moderna receiving $6 billion in federal funding.

As “principal investigator” for the grants, Bertagnolli would have been tasked with administering the grant funding.

US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla gestures during a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos on May 25, 2022. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Bertagnolli, a surgical oncologist, currently serves as Director of the National Cancer Institute within the NIH.

Pfizer, the largest contributor to Bertagnolli’s research, gave her organizations $31.3 million in 2021, $11.2 million in 2020, $20.4 million in 2019, $150.6 million in 2018 and $34.5 million in 2017 for research grants, according to CMS data. She also received research grants from Seagen, Genentech, Merck Sharp & Dohme and other pharmaceutical companies; Merck, AstraZeneca and Pfizer produced COVID-19 vaccines.

In 2021, Pfizer gave Bertagnolli’s Alliance Foundation Trials $18.59 million grant to fund an ongoing study into early breast cancer treatments, while AstraZeneca gave the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology $2.2 million in 2021 for a study on non-small cell lung cancer treatments, according to CMS data. Merck gave Alliance Foundation Trials more than $1 million in 2017 to study a small cell lung cancer treatment.

“Dr. Bertagnolli has spent her career pioneering scientific discovery and pushing the boundaries of what is possible to improve cancer prevention and treatment for patients, and ensuring that patients in every community have access to quality care,” Biden said. “Dr. Bertagnolli is a world-class physician-scientist whose vision and leadership will ensure NIH continues to be an engine of innovation to improve the health of the American people.”

Bertagnolli and the White House did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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