WASHINGTON — PhRMA, the Washington lobbying arm for the drug industry, will close for the remainder of the week after an individual exposed to coronavirus entered the group’s office on March 5.
“Based on initial conversations with public health offices and out of an abundance of caution, PhRMA has closed our Washington, D.C., headquarters for the remainder of the week and will conduct a deep cleaning of all our facilities. We have also asked those individuals who were in the meeting with the diagnosed person to self-quarantine and not return to our offices until March 20,” PhRMA spokesperson Robert Zirkelbach wrote in a statement.
PhRMA’s statement did not name the infected individual but said the person is not a PhRMA employee. Zirkelbach said PhRMA learned of the potential exposure Monday night.
One PhRMA member company, Biogen, has disclosed that multiple employees of their company have been exposed to the coronavirus. During a corporate planning meeting held in Boston last week at least eight people were exposed and subsequently tested positive for coronavirus. Biogen declined to comment on whether anyone in its D.C. office has tested positive for coronavirus, and PhRMA declined to answer whether this case was tied to Biogen.
PhRMA, well-known for its lobbying prowess in Washington, often deploys its lobbyists and member company representatives to meet with lawmakers and their staff. The news of the infection also comes after multiple lawmakers have chosen to self-quarantine after coming in contact with an attendee of the Conservative Political Action Conference who tested positive for coronavirus.
A PhRMA spokesperson did not immediately comment on whether any of the group’s employees that had potentially been exposed to coronavirus had had in-person contact with lawmakers or staff on Capitol Hill in the subsequent days.