Monday, November 14, 2011

More on the Obama-Siga-Smallpox game

I noted the new scandal in my previous blog post, about the drug maker Siga and the rather large no-bid contract it was receiving from the government to make Smallpox vaccines. Again, here is the whole story at the LA Times. Look at these bits from the story:
The Obama administration official who has overseen the buying of Siga's drug says she is trying to strengthen the nation's preparedness. Dr. Nicole Lurie, a presidential appointee who heads biodefense planning at Health and Human Services, cited a 2004 finding by the Bush administration that there was a "material threat" smallpox could be used as a biological weapon... 
On Oct. 13, 2010, Siga announced that the government intended to award it a contract for ST-246 worth as much as $2.8 billion... 
In early December, officials completed a required "justification for other than full and open competition," which said an antiviral against smallpox was needed within five years and Siga was the only company able to meet that timetable.
Note that the Obama administration is playing up the bio-threat angle, thus justifying Project Bioshield, the Bush-era program that is at the root of the initiative and the source of funding. And pay particular attention to the date of Siga's announcement.

Now look at this article from July of last year:
In an email to The Los Angeles Times, Obama White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said Project BioShield "has demonstrated limited success in providing incentive for private-sector (vaccine) developers and has not provided a robust pipeline of medical countermeasures." 
A little over a year ago, the administration was frowning at Project Bioshield, even as the Siga deal was in the pipeline. Then, when the Siga deal hit some snags, the admin lent a helping hand, ostensibly justifying these actions by noting the importance and urgency of Project Bioshield-related programs.

To say it all smells funny might be the understatement of the...week?

Cheers, all.

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