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 7 - Fortune favors the corrupt
With BioPort well aware of its powerful position early on, it dragged its feet in getting its factory relicensed and up to federal standards. Meanwhile, due to the nature of the contract, the Pentagon kept buying up large amounts of vaccines that were unusable, and arguably unsafe, while also still paying BioPort for storage of the useless product.
During this time, anthrax vaccine doses made prior to these renovations were being used on U.S. troops, with many of those soldiers claiming that the vaccine produced in the troubled facility had given them permanent headaches, joint pain, loss of memory and other, more severe symptoms. Some were even disabled for life. Congress again held hearings, but they were stuffed with BioPort employees posing as “experts” as well as others who supported the Pentagon’s contract with the company.
However, in 2000, the Pentagon did finally lose patience and demanded that BioPort stop making BioThrax. BioPort obliged, but kept receiving government money to keep it afloat. By August 2001, the Lansing facility was still unlicensed and BioPort was still demanding government money to keep it from going out of business. That month, Congress and the Pentagon began to publicly discuss abandoning BioPort. The Pentagon began preparing a report, due to be released in September 2001, that would detail a plan for letting BioPort go.
Fortunately for BioPort but unfortunately for the nation, the events of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent anthrax attacks led to major increases in fear and panic that anthrax attacks could become a recurrent nightmare for the American public and that radical terror groups and rival nations sought to target, not just American soldiers with anthrax, but also the country’s civilians.
The ensuing panic led the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to intervene, returning BioPort its license in January 2002 despite persisting safety concerns at its vaccine production facility.
BioPort was not content to merely see its past contracts with the Pentagon restored, however, as it began lobbying heavily for new contracts for anthrax vaccines intended for American civilians, postal workers and others. They would get them, largely thanks to HHS’ then-counter-terrorism adviser and soon to be HHS’ newest Assistant Secretary — Jerome Hauer.