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A pair of top House Democrats is investigating whether Emergent BioSolutions (EBS), which was responsible for contaminating millions of doses of the Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Covid-19 vaccine, traded on its relationship with a key Trump administration official to win federal contracts.

In a letter to the company, the lawmakers noted they are reacting to reports that Emergent received a $628 million contract last June to create the main U.S. facility for making Covid-19 vaccines for both J&J and AstraZeneca (AZN), despite a history of inadequately trained staff and quality control problems.


The deal was reportedly pushed by Robert Kadlec, who served as Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the Trump administration and previously worked as a consultant for Emergent. The federal contracts that were awarded included work on the Strategic National Stockpile, but without competitive bidding. And Kadlec reportedly admitted this was a risky decision, the lawmakers noted.

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