Why is Obama Administration Spending $433 Million on Experimental Smallpox Drug When Last Case was in 1949?
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
There’s hasn’t been a case of smallpox in the U.S. in 62 years. But that hasn’t stopped the Obama administration from awarding a $433 million deal to a company to produce an antidote for the non-existent disease—a company whose controlling shareholder is a major Democratic donor.
Billionaire Ronald Perelman, one of the world’s richest men and a longtime Democratic Party supporter, owns stock in Siga Technologies Inc., which received the smallpox drug contract over the objections of specialists in the Department of Health and Human Services.
When the department’s lead negotiator for the deal objected to Siga’s financial demands, senior administration officials had him replaced, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The administration also blocked other companies from bidding on the work, resulting in Siga getting a non-competitive contract.
Siga is expected to deliver 1.7 million doses of the smallpox remedy to the government in case there’s ever a bioterror attack.
The last time an American was diagnosed with the disease was 1949, and the last case of naturally occurring smallpox anywhere in the world was in Somalia in 1977.
As David Willman wrote in the LA Times wrote: “There is no credible evidence that any other country or a terrorist group possesses smallpox.”
Cost, Need Questioned in $433-Million Smallpox Drug Deal (by David Willman, Los Angeles Times)
Smallpox Disease Overview (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
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