Before leaving the White House, former President Donald Trump initiated a regulatory rulemaking process to drive down the prices of drugs created with government-funded research.

The rulemaking process was launched as officials started giving COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, which were built upon decades of National Institute of Health-funded research into messenger RNA that can transmit vaccine doses without being detected by the immune system, according to Sludge, an independent, nonprofit news outlet.

The US government is covering the cost of the vaccines for patients and the drug companies are earning billions of dollars. Pfizer/BioNTech is charging the government $19.50 per shot, Moderna is charging $15, and Johnson & Johnson is getting $10 a jab.

However, the federal government is likely to stop paying for the jab once the pandemic is determined to be over.

Moderna and Pfizer are already in talks about delivering an additional booster shot in the coming months. They have already told investors that they plan to increase the prices of their COVID vaccines by the end of this year.

According to Sludge, if the Biden administration allows Trump’s rulemaking to take effect, the regulation would not allow the government to use this authority solely because a government-funded product is being sold by a private company at an unreasonable price.

President Joe Biden could order the Trump-initiated rulemaking to be withdrawn to preserve the government’s ability to use power against drug price gougers, but so far he has declined to, per the news outlet. 

James Love, Founder of Knowledge Ecology International, told Sludge, “Biden should withdraw the regulations, and have his staff take a fresh look. This is an important topic, and the fact that more than 80 thousand persons opposed the regs also needs to be taken seriously.” For more information, visit Sludge.