Last year, over the objections of government experts, a company with ties to a top federal official won a pandemic response contract worth up to $470 million, according to a Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and Anti-Corruption Data Collective investigation.
Weeks after that Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contract was awarded, a federal court unsealed a lawsuit alleging the agency had been previously defrauded into buying the drug from another company. The lawsuit alleged the drug was “more likely to perpetuate an influenza pandemic than to stop one.”
HHS has said that there was nothing improper about the nearly half-billion-dollar contract, for a drug called oseltamivir, but more commonly known as Tamiflu, denying the claims of a prominent whistleblower. The agency argues the award saved taxpayer dollars, freeing up funds for other treatments.