President Biden announced on Monday he plans to nominate Dr. Monica Bertagnolli to lead the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the world’s “preeminent biomedical research organization.” Bertagnolli is a cancer surgeon who became the director of the National Cancer Institute in October.
According to Open Payments, a national transparency program under the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services that discloses financial relationships between healthcare providers and drug companies, Bertagnolli received more than 116 grants and 290.8 million dollars between 2015 and 2021 from Pfizer—estimated to make up 89% of all of her research grants.
According to Pfizer’s second-quarter report, oncology is its third-largest focus, following investments in vaccines and hospitals. Pfizer reported $3 billion in revenue for oncology in the second quarter alone and $6 billion in the past six months. Despite these numbers, there is still no pharmaceutical cure for cancer—only expensive cancer drugs that make people sicker and pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer richer.
Apart from Pfizer, Bertagnolli has received large payments from other pharmaceutical companies like COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer Janssen Research & Development, with 157 grants totaling $17.4 million, and AstraZeneca.
Can anyone trust that Bertagnolli will sign off on recommendations, studies, and treatments that directly conflict with Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies? Probably not.
In a White House press release, Biden called Bertagnolli “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.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra issued the following statement:
“I congratulate Dr. Bertagnolli on her nomination to lead the NIH. Her storied scientific career has advanced our nation’s understanding of diseases such as cancer and established her as one of the top scientists in the world. She is one of the most powerful voices in the country for cancer patients, particularly for those in rural and remote communities.
“Her decades of cancer research expertise around patient-centered care and her work to create more inclusive clinical trials, have been game-changing in the fight against cancer. I have no doubt she will further advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities of promoting scientific integrity, pursuing pioneering scientific research, and exploring new treatments for diseases. I look forward to working with her and I urge the Senate to move quickly to confirm her nomination.”
If you know anything about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, then you should be concerned that Pfizer primarily funded Bertagnolli’s cancer trials—designed to ultimately yield results Pfizer could use to promote its products and make its money.
The NIH has been without a director since Dr. Francis Collins left in December 2021. Collins played a pivotal role in suppressing The Great Barrington Declaration and the voices of prestigious scientists in favor of lockdowns and experimental clot shots.
At a time when Americans needed dialogue between scientists, Collins shut it down and made himself the arbiter of truth.
The director’s role is to provide leadership to all 27 institutes that fall under the NIH. One cannot be surprised if that leadership is tainted by financial ties to Pfizer.