President Joe Biden canceled a Wednesday trip to Baltimore to visit a vaccine manufacturer after a scathing report on the company charged its practices put the Strategic National Stockpile in jeopardy during the COVID pandemic.
Biden was scheduled to visit Emergent Bio Solutions with the CEOs of Johnson & Johnson and Merck to talk about their historic partnership to produce more COVID-19 vaccines. The White House announced the visit on Friday.
But on Monday, the White House said the meeting between the president and the CEOs would take place at the White House instead.
‘We just felt it was a more appropriate place to have the meeting,’ press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday at her daily briefing of the change.
President Joe Biden canceled a Wednesday trip to Baltimore to visit a vaccine manufacturer after a scathing report on the company
On Saturday, The New York Times reported that last year the government paid Emergent $626 million for products, including vaccines, to combat a terrorist attack using anthrax.
Emergent is a Maryland-based company that manufacturers vaccines, including COVID vaccines for AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
Throughout most of the last decade, the U.S. government spent nearly half of the stockpile’s half-billion-dollar annual budget on Emergent’s anthrax vaccines, The Times found.
The stockpile has been Emergence’s most reliable customer over the years for its anthrax vaccines.
But those anthrax purchases left the government with less money to buy supplies – including personal protective gear, N95 face masks and ventilators – during the COVID pandemic.
‘The administration is going to undertake a comprehensive review and audit of the National Stockpile,’ Psaki said.
Emergent is a Maryland-based company that manufacturers vaccines, including COVID vaccines for AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson – Biden was to visit it with the CEOs of Johnson and Johnson and Merck
The New York Times reported on Saturday the government spent half of the stockpile’s budget on Emergence’s anthrax vaccine leaving it short of cash when it came to buying supplies to combat COVID-19
The stockpile kept enough anthrax vaccines to cover 10 million people and the vaccines need to be replaced every two years as they expire. But The Times investigation found Emergent corned the anthrax market by undercutting competition, hiring former federal officials for its board and having a large lobbying budget.
‘You can’t protect people from anthrax for less than the cost of a latte,’ Nina DeLorenzo, a senior vice president of Emergent, told The Times.
She also defended the company’s focus on the government as its main customer pointing out the commercial market is too small to sustain the market and businesses need the government contracts to stay in business.
‘The capabilities must be maintained, or they are in danger of being lost, leaving the country vulnerable to threats,’ she said. ‘When almost no one else would invest in preparing to protect the American public from grave threats, Emergent did, and the country is better prepared today because of it.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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