One of the most politically-connected yet scandal ridden vaccine companies in the united states, with troubling ties to the 2001 anthrax attacks and opioid crisis, is set to profit handsomely from the current coronavirus crisis.
by Whitney Webb and Raul Diego
In August 2001, biopharmaceutical company BioPort faced imminent disaster. A series of company scandals, controversial federal bail-outs and severe, adverse health reactions among U.S. troops were causing both Congress and the Pentagon to reconsider its multi-million dollar contract to provide the military with an anthrax vaccine.
Formed for the sole purpose of acquiring a publicly-owned company in Michigan that held the exclusive license to manufacture the only FDA-approved anthrax vaccine in the United States, BioPort sought to quickly expand the size and scope of its contracts with the U.S. military. This strategy was made possible thanks to the former head of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, Adm. William Crowe, who would prove highly instrumental in the rise of BioPort’s vaccine monopoly and its subsequent, aggressive hiring of former government officials as lobbyists.
Yet, soon after scoring these multi-million dollar contracts and securing a monopoly on anthrax vaccines, BioPort would claim that they were flailing financially and would subsequently be bailed out to the tune of $24 million at the Pentagon’s request, which cited “national security concerns” as justification.
However, Pentagon auditors had found that much of the money awarded to BioPort was unaccounted for and the money they were able to trace had failed to go towards renovating their vaccine production facility, which had lost its license until numerous sanitary problems (sanitary and otherwise) were fixed. Meanwhile, scores of soldiers who had suffered ill health effects from BioPort’s anthrax vaccine, some disabled for life, began speaking out, bringing BioPort’s most critical product and chief source of income under unwanted scrutiny.
While BioPort seemingly faced imminent ruin from these and other scandals in August 2001, the 2001 anthrax attacks that followed a month later came at just the right time for the company, as demand for their anthrax vaccine soon skyrocketed, resulting in new lucrative government contracts. Their license was also quickly renewed thanks to intervention from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) despite many of the problems with its production facility persisting.
Though they were conveniently rescued by the unfortunate events of 2001, BioPort would soon lobby for larger contracts than ever before, calling for a massive increase in government purchases of their controversial anthrax vaccine. Riding the fear caused by the 2001 anthrax attacks, they pushed for the government to stockpile anthrax vaccines, not just for the military, but for civilians, postal workers, police and many more who could potentially be put in harm’s way were the anthrax attacks to repeat themselves.
One of their biggest proponents of expanding BioPort’s contracts was working for HHS at the time — Jerome Hauer, a man who not only had foreknowledge of the anthrax attacks, but had also participated in the Dark Winter simulation that would also predict those same attacks just months prior. Hauer would, months later, be appointed to a newly created position at HHS, one which oversaw the new biodefense stockpile from which BioPort would be a major beneficiary.
BioPort would be then renamed and repackaged as Emergent Biosolutions in 2004. It would then hire even more well-connected lobbyists and add several big names from government and the private sector to its board. One of these “big names” was none other than Jerome Hauer, who was added to Emergent’s board soon after leaving HHS. Hauer still remains a company director and sits on three of its corporate governance committees.
Not only did Emergent Biosolutions profit from national anthrax fears, they would also cash in on subsequent pandemic panics and later receive substantial backing from the Bill Gates-backed Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). They would then turn their attention to the still-raging opioid addiction and overdose crisis by buying rights to the only drug approved for treating opioid overdoses at the scene while also suing any and all generic producers of this crucial, life-saving treatment.
Given its history, it should come as little surprise that Emergent Biosolutions is now set to profit from the Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. They are particularly well-suited to make record profits off of COVID-19, as they are backing not one, but two, vaccine candidates as well as an experimental blood plasma treatment already approved for trials in New York state, thanks in part to Jerome Hauer’s old boss, New York governor Andrew Cuomo. As noted in a previous article for The Last American Vagabond, the other main companies developing COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. are strategic partners of the controversial Pentagon research agency DARPA, which has become increasingly aligned with HHS in recent years thanks to another Dark Winter participant, Robert Kadlec.
In this second installment of the series “Engineering Contagion: Amerithrax, Coronavirus and the Rise of the Biotech-Industrial Complex,” Emergent Biosolution’s rise to prominence, made possible through acts of blatant corruption and the public-private revolving door, will be explored. The clear nexus between Big Pharma, Government and University-affiliated “Biosecurity Centers” offers a startling look into the Biotech-Industrial Complex that has long dominated U.S. biodefense policy and is now guiding much of the U.S. government’s response to the Coronavirus crisis.