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
Part 6 - A steal and scam
In September 1998, BioPort acquired the MBPI facility through a $25 million package of loans, cash and promises to pay Michigan state more for the company in the future, promises that were later broken. It was later revealed that El-Hibri and other BioPort partners had only placed $4.5 million of their own money into this package.
As previously mentioned, the MBPI plant in Lansing, MI had come with issues and had been closed for renovations six months prior to its purchase by BioPort. However, the MBPI had received millions from the Pentagon to fix the issues identified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that had affected the vaccine’s “stability, potency and purity.”
Along with these issues, BioPort had also inherited military contracts worth nearly $8 million for anthrax vaccines. They quickly secured another contract for the same totaling more than $45 million, with an additional $16 million in cash for immediate renovations — a sizable deal likely due to BioPort’s aggressive hiring of former Pentagon and federal officials as lobbyists in addition to Crowe’s own deep ties to the Pentagon.
Despite the massive influx of cash, BioPort did not spend the money on renovating the plant and its sanitary issues, likely due to the fact that the deal required the Pentagon to buy anthrax vaccines from BioPort even if the plant and the vaccines it had produced lacked an FDA license.
With the Pentagon obligated to buy the vaccine, regardless of whether it was usable, BioPort spent millions renovating its executives’ offices, as opposed to the vaccine factory, and millions more on bonuses for “senior management.” Pentagon auditors would later find that still millions more had gone “missing” and BioPort’s staff were unaware of the cost of producing a single dose of the vaccine.
Despite the clear mismanagement and corruption, BioPort demanded to be bailed out by the Pentagon, requesting even more money to replace what they had lost and squandered. Though Pentagon auditors argued that the company should be abandoned, top military officials cited “national security” and awarded BioPort with an additional $24.1 million. They also upped the price to be paid for each dose of the anthrax vaccine, which only has a shelf life of 3 years, from $4.36 to $10.64.
Congress would hold hearings on the bail-out, hearings that went nowhere. During one of those hearings, then-Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) would state the following:
The message seems clear: If a company wants to make millions without providing a product or service, enter into a sole-source contract with the Department of Defense to produce vaccines. BioPort appears to have the government over a barrel.
Unsurprisingly, this would only be the first of BioPort’s federal bail-outs.