A license that the Department of Defense plans to issue to Sanofi (SNY) Pasteur for a Zika virus vaccine is being questioned by an advocacy group over concerns the product may be priced too high for many Americans, even though it was developed with taxpayer funds. And the issue is being raised as vaccine makers chase what some believe may become a lucrative market.

Here’s the backstory: On Dec. 9, the Army placed a brief notice in the Federal Register indicating its intent to give an exclusive license to Sanofi Pasteur, one of the world’s biggest vaccine makers and a unit of the French pharmaceutical company. The move followed months of mounting alarm among public health officials over the spread of Zika, the mosquito-borne virus that can cause birth defects.

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  • It is also standard practice that licensing agreements in pharma are treated as proprietary and trade secret information with respect to the specifics of the income streams from the royalty bearing license. For all we know a decent percentage of the royalties will go back to the US Treasury, effectively reimbursing taxpayers.

    Anyone wanting more details is free to file a FOIA request, but since the military and pharma are two of the most secretive entities in the world don’t expect to get too far with that.

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