The pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, is using Semafor to brag about its generosity abroad as it hikes U.S. drug prices.

by Andrew Perez, The Lever

Pfizer recently made headlines for hiking prices on roughly 100 drugs in the United States, shortly after the company announced plans to quadruple the price of its COVID-19 vaccine. Now, the pharmaceutical giant is paying news outlets to tell a different story — a fawning tale about how the company has been altruistically working to expand access to its products overseas.

Pfizer and money

On Tuesday, the news website Semafor ran a sponsored post from Pfizer bragging about the drugmaker’s efforts to “increase access to health care innovation” in low-income countries. Pfizer has also sponsored Semafor’s D.C.-focused “Principals” newsletter for Washington insiders in recent days. Next week, The Hill will host an event sponsored by Pfizer entitled “Expanding Adult Vaccine Access,” which will feature several D.C. lawmakers and a top federal health care regulator.

The Pfizer sponsorships are just the latest examples of how, when the news coverage gets rough, big businesses can pay corporate media to change the narrative and run counter-programming — with the hope that policymakers and consumers will be sufficiently distracted from the stories that really matter.

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