Biden Cancels Visit to Emergent Facility After Times Report on Its Tactics

Washington – President Biden on Monday canceled a visit to the Coronavirus vaccine plant run by Amergent Biosolutions. The New York Times published a lengthy investigation How the company achieved impact on the country’s emergency medical reserve.

Instead of visiting the Emergent facility in Baltimore on Wednesday, the president will be meeting with officials from pharmaceutical giants Merck & Co. and Johnson & Johnson at the White House to attend sessions in Baltimore at the White House as well. Merck and Emergent are partnered separately with Johnson & Johnson to manufacture each company’s coronavirus vaccine.

“We felt this was a more appropriate place to meet,” White House press secretary Jane Saki told reporters.

Is more than an agent $ 600 million in contracts With the federal government to manufacture coronovirus vaccines and to expand its “fill and finish” capacity to complete the process of manufacturing vaccines and medical science. A senior administration official said Merck and Johnson & Johnson officials would attend the White House session on Wednesday.

An spokesperson for Emergent did not immediately respond to questions asked about demonetisation on Monday. The spokesperson, Nina Delorenzo, defended the company’s business with the government in a written response to the first question, stating, “When no one else will invest in preparing to protect the American public from serious threats, Emergent did better and the country did better.” Is today ready because of it. “

The Times’ investigation focused on the emergency reserve, the Strategic National Stockpill, which went rogue during the coronovirus epidemic for lack of critical supplies such as N95 masks and other personal protective equipment.

Decisions on how to spend the repository’s limited budget are made by government officials on the basis of careful assessment of how to save lives, but the Times found that they largely stem from the demands and financial interests of a handful of biotech companies Were inspired. Specialized in products that address terrorist threats rather than infectious disease.

Chief among them is Emergent. During the past decade, the government has spent nearly half of the half-billion-dollar-a-year budget of the stockpill found by MPT’s anthrax vaccine, The Times.

In the funding competition, products for epidemiological preparations – including N95 – were repeatedly lost, according to the Times investigation, which relied on more than 40,000 documents and interviews with more than 60 people with knowledge of the stockpile.

The image Some health care workers who wear garbage for personal protection have become a permanent symbol of the government’s failed response. Yet the government paid Emergent $ 626 million in 2020 for products that contained vaccines to protect against terrorist attacks using anthrax.

For much of Emergent’s two-decade history, its primary product has been the anthrax vaccine, first licensed in 1970, which the company purchased in 1998 from the state of Michigan. Over time, the price per dose that the government fixed to pay Amergent increased nearly six-fold, accounting for inflation.

Ms. Delenozzo previously justified the company’s pricing. “You can’t protect people from anthrax for less than the cost of a latte,” she wrote in an email.

The sale of Emergent to the government in 2020 also includes a new anthrax vaccine that has yet to be safely approved and requires special approval to be stockpiled. In the months leading up to the coronovirus epidemic, the Trump administration awarded the company nearly $ 3 billion in long-term contracts; Last year, the government agreed to pay the company more than $ 600 million to manufacture other companies’ coronavirus vaccines at its facility in Baltimore. Emergent is now manufacturing Coronavirus vaccines for AstraZeneca as well as Johnson & Johnson.

Emergent, whose The board is stacked with former federal officials, Has deployed a lobbying budget of some large pharmaceutical companies, The Times found. It has sometimes resorted to a strategy already understood in Washington. For example, while coping with efforts to develop a better and cheaper anthrax vaccine, Emergent demolished its rivals, documents and interviews following the show’s performance.

Ms Delenozzo portrayed the company’s lobbying as “education-focused” and “appropriate and necessary”.

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