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Photo: Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Moderna has not been living up to contractual obligations to disclose the percentage of taxpayer dollars that are funding its coronavirus vaccine project, but the pharmaceutical company tells Axios that federal money makes up "100% funding of the program."

Why it matters: Moderna has received almost $1 billion in taxpayer grants to get its vaccine through clinical trials and is considering setting the highest price of all coronavirus vaccine candidates.

Driving the news: Moderna's contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which is part of Health and Human Services, includes a provision that requires Moderna to "clearly state ... the percentage of the total costs of the program" financed with federal vs. private dollars.

  • Moderna has not done this in any of its press releases tied to its coronavirus vaccine.
  • Two consumer advocacy groups, Public Citizen and Knowledge Ecology International, are now pushing HHS to "enforce the provision in this contract and all other applicable contracts."

Between the lines: This provision is commonly called the Stevens Amendment, and it turns out the federal government has done a poor job of enforcing it, according to a Government Accountability Office report from last year.

What they're saying: HHS did not say if it issued Moderna an exemption from this provision, only saying in a response:

  • "Moderna provides the required acknowledgement to the federal government for funding and other support provided to develop the vaccine. The company would need to identify for you what percentage of this specific contract is federally funded. We continue to collaborate with companies as they put out press releases to ensure accurate information."

Moderna said in multiple responses that it "request[s] BARDA review for each of our press releases or other disclosures before we issue ... and are comfortable that the information included in our public disclosures is consistent with BARDA's expectations."

  • Moderna said the language in its original BARDA funding press release — "BARDA will fund the advancement of mRNA-1273 to FDA licensure" — "made clear the extent of BARDA's 100% funding of the program."

Go deeper

Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president"

Michael Caputo. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In September, Health and Human Services spokesperson Michael Caputo privately pitched one branch of the agency's $250 million coronavirus ad campaign with the theme: "Helping the President will Help the Country," according to documents released by House Democrats on the Oversight Committee on Thursday.

Why it matters: These are the latest documents that suggest the deep politicization of the Trump administration's coronavirus response.

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — U.S. sets new single-day case record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local cases.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
21 hours ago - Health

U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record

Expand chart
Data: COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

The United States reported 88,452 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The country confirmed 1,049 additional deaths due to the virus, and there are over 46,000 people currently being hospitalized, suggesting the U.S. is experiencing a third wave heading into the winter months.