“The idea of having a two company business plan instead of a public health plan is troubling to us,” said Dr. Joia Mukherjee, Chief Medical Officer of Partners In Health, a global nonprofit nonprofit organization. “We believe that Biden has the power, especially at Moderna, because much of it has been taxpayer funded to require the exchange of patents and know-how.”
Some activists, angry at the government’s slow progress, showed up at the home of Ron Klain, Mr Biden’s chief of staff, in September and deposited a false mountain of bones on the sidewalk in protest. Another group protested in front of Mr. Zients’ house on Wednesday morning.
In response to the criticism that the Biden Plan was not geared towards building capacity abroad, Dr. Kessler that domestic production “is important not only for the US supply, but for the global supply”.
At the same time, partnerships with major drug manufacturers offer no guarantees. Mr. Biden announced earlier this year that he had brokered a contract with Merck & Co., the pharmaceutical giant, to manufacture Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine for other countries as well. Officials hailed the partnership as historic, saying it fits in with the president’s vision of a production campaign like the one led by Franklin D. Roosevelt to produce supplies for World War II.
But the Merck deal did not go as expected. Administration officials initially hoped that Merck would begin production of the vaccine’s main ingredient by the end of this year, but it would not do so until April, said Dr. Kessler.
Congress this year invested a total of $ 16.05 billion in the U.S. rescue plan in two separate tranches that could be used to source and manufacture treatments, vaccines, and other tools to end the pandemic.
However, in an analysis released earlier this summer, AIDS advocacy group Prep4All found that the government had spent a total of $ 145 million – only $ 12 million of which from the US rescue plan – to expand vaccine manufacturing. Most of it went into converting Merck’s production lines.