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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."

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Ex-FDA chief: Pence campaigning after COVID exposure puts others at risk

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said "the short answer is yes" when asked whether Vice President Mike Pence is putting others at risk by continuing to campaign after several aides tested positive for COVID-19, stressing that the White House needs to be "very explicit about the risks that they're taking."

Why it matters: The New York Times reports that at least five members of Pence's inner circle, including his chief of staff Marc Short and outside adviser Marty Obst, have tested positive for the virus. Pence tested negative on Sunday morning, according to the VP's office, and he'll continue to travel for the final stretch of the 2020 campaign.

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Senate advances Amy Coney Barrett nomination, setting up final confirmation vote

Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

The Senate voted 51-48 on Sunday to advance the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, setting up a final confirmation vote for Monday.

Why it matters: It's now virtually inevitable that the Senate will vote to confirm President Trump's third Supreme Court nominee before the election, which is just nine days away.