So much for transparency. In what can only be called a disappointing decision, the Trump administration says the chief advisor at Operation Warp Speed, its ambitious project to develop a Covid-19 vaccine by January 2021, can remain a government contractor.
This means the advisor, Moncef Slaoui, a former GlaxoSmithKline executive turned venture capitalist, does not have to file ethics disclosures that are normally required of federal employees. What’s more, he can also keep his investments in drug makers.
At a time when the U.S. is doling out billions of dollars in contracts to the pharmaceutical industry, this raises a troubling question: How can we be sure Slaoui is not conflicted? The answer, unfortunately, is that we can’t.