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Congress investigating how Baltimore based Emergent BioSolutions ended up with J&J vaccine contract

Emergent BioSolutions
Posted at 4:10 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 16:10:00-04

WASHINGTON — Congress has launched an investigation into Baltimore based Emergent BioSolutions.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform and Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is looking into whether the company leveraged its relationship with a key Trump Administration official to obtain a $628 million federal contract to manufacture Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines.

Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney and James E. Clyburn are accusing Dr. Robert Kadlec, who was once a consultant for Emergent and served as Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response under President Trump, of pushing the award.

They claim Emergent has a "documented history of inadequately trained staff and quality control issues."

The news comes days after the FDA initiated an inspection of Emergent’s Bayview facility, and asked them to pause any new manufacturing of vaccines.

On April 13, the Maryland Department of Health directed all COVID-19 vaccine providers in the state to pause the administration of the Johnson & Johnson shot, after the FDA and CDC recommended a temporary halt following the emergence of a rare and severe blood clotting in 6 recipients.

Johnson & Johnson installed a new leadership team to oversee all aspects of production and manufacturing at the facility after they accidentally ruined 15 million doses by conflating the ingredients several weeks ago.

The mix-up forced regulators to delay authorizing the plant’s production line.

Clyburn has requested Emergent’s CEO, Robert G. Kramer, and Executive Chairman, Fuad El-Hibri, to testify before the Select Subcommittee on May 19.

Congress also investigating Emergent on whether they unduly influenced anthrax vaccine assets currently in the Strategic National Stockpile.