HHS cancels pandemic contract with troubled vaccine maker
The Department of Health and Human Services canceled a long-standing pandemic preparedness contract with Emergent BioSolutions, a pharmaceutical manufacturer that ruined 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine in March, the company disclosed in an earnings report.
Why it matters: The contract, originally worth $650 million, was expanded under Operation Warp Speed to increase the company's capacity to produce materials for COVID-19 vaccines.
- Emergent will now forgo roughly $180 million because of the contract's termination, though it still maintains other contracts with the U.S. government and will continue producing vaccines for J&J.
The big picture: Emergent BioSolutions workers at its Baltimore plant contaminated the doses by conflating ingredients between J&J's and AstraZeneca's vaccines.
- The plant had multiple procedural failures, including unsanitary conditions near sensitive manufacturing areas and mishandled medical waste, the FDA found during an investigation.
- The contamination error forced the plant to halt production for several months, delaying J&J's rollout of its vaccine.
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