hand in blue glove holding a vial marked

Profit helps save lives

David Harsanyi reminds National Review Online readers that profit plays a critical role in making our lives better.

The New York Times reports that “Pfizer Reaps Hundreds of Millions in Profits From Covid Vaccine.”

When you see the word “reaps” in the headline, it usually suggests something more devious than merely “earned.” Hollywood rarely “reaps” money. Walmart “reaps.” Solar-panel makers do not “reap.” Oil companies “reap.” The more useful you are to society, it seems, the more likely you are to reap.

And pharma giant Pfizer reaped revenues of $3.5 billion in the first three months of 2021, estimated to generate around $900 billion in profits. All the company had to do was create a safe drug that effectively alleviated the threat of the most deadly virus we’ve faced in over a century — one responsible for hundreds of thousands of American deaths and a cost of trillions in economic damage — and then manufacture and dispense hundreds of millions of doses in the shortest span of any vaccine ever created.

So, naturally, progressives want to punish Pfizer.

“Unlike several vaccine manufacturers that vowed to forego profits during the Covid-19 pandemic, Pfizer planned to profit,” explained former secretary of labor Robert Reich to his 1.3 million followers. “Today it announced that the vaccine brought in $3.5 billion in the first three months of 2021, nearly a quarter of its total revenue.”

Good for Pfizer.

Why should Pfizer forgo profits that were netted using their time, talents, efforts, and experience? Reich makes $300,000 a year teaching anti-capitalist bunkum to impressionable young minds — on top of at least $40,000 per hour giving speeches around the country. Why doesn’t he forgo his profit for the good of those students? Progressives — and increasing numbers of conservatives angered by social-media partisanship and industry wokeness — have made “corporations” an amorphous enemy. There is plenty to grouse about, but Big Pharma saves more lives every year than all government programs combined.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...