The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Emergent BioSolutions—Paid to Fail

Jun 21, 2021

For Emergent BioSolutions, a drug manufacturing company, the pandemic has been a real gold mine. Over the last year, it made record profits and distributed millions of dollars in bonuses to its executives, as the New York Times reported.

But because their manufacturing processes were so sloppy, much of what they produced was contaminated in its Baltimore plant. They were forced to destroy 75 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. It led to a two-month-long shutdown of operations in April. Emergent did not deliver any dose of the vaccine after that.

This was a real setback that cost precious time in the fight against the pandemic that cost countless lives.

All this points out how companies get rich from government contracts. In May 2020, the Federal Government promised to pay Emergent $542 million to reserve production space at the troubled Baltimore plant, and at two Emergent facilities nearby to bottle and package COVID-19 vaccines.

At first glance, this contract made no sense. Emergent had never won regulatory approval to mass-produce anything at its main Baltimore plant. And the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had already found that those two facilities had a history of poor manufacturing quality, including the same kind of product contamination that led to the destruction of tens of millions of doses of vaccines. But that didn’t stop the Federal Government from still granting the company no-bid contracts.

So, Emergent was able to announce record profits without the company delivering a single dose, because the Federal Government handed over the money promised to the company.

These companies and their politicians in high places are handsomely profiting from our fight to survive this pandemic. And they are laughing all the way to the bank.