Pfizer Says It Is Participating in Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, Contradicting Media Denials

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Drugmaker Pfizer says that it is participating in the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed, as Breitbart News reported Monday.

Reports to the contrary based on a quote from a company executive were taken out of context, the company said Monday afternoon.

“Pfizer is one of various vaccine manufacturers participating in Operation Warp Speed as a supplier of a potential COVID-19 vaccine,” the company said in a statement reported by CNN’s Daniel Dale.

Operation Warp Speed is the Trump administration’s efforts to fast-track the development, production, and distribution of drugs to combat the virus. The public-private partnership has been widely praised for lowering regulatory barriers, facilitating cooperation between government agencies and drug-makers, and providing funding for drug development to some of the participants.

After Pfizer announced its vaccine candidate was more thn 90 percent effective in a pivotal study, several reports falsely claimed that Pfizer was not participating in the program. As Pfizer’s statement makes clear, Pfizer did participate in the program. Unlike other participants, however, Pfizer did not receive funding from the government for the development of the drug, choosing to bear the financial risk itself. Instead, the company contracted to sell 100 million doses of the vaccine to the U.S. government if it proved effective and safe.

“Pfizer also said at the time that they did not accept federal funding for research and development because they thought dealing with government contracts would slow down their progress,” the Spectator‘s Amber Athey reported.

Breitbart News reported on Monday that Pfizer was participating in the Trump administration’s program, contrary to denials by Trump’s critics and a statement attributed to a company official.

“We were never part of the Warp Speed,” the New York Times claimed a Pfizer vice presiden, Kathrin Jansen, said.

The company says that was taken out of context.

The Spectator USA‘s Amber Athey reported on a follow-up statement.

Breitbart News reported Monday that Pfizer’s was a, Operation Warp Speed participant and had agreed to sell doses to the government under the program.

Pfizer had decided that it would pursue the vaccine on its own, taking the financial risk that the drug would not wind up being effective. And unlike other companies pursuing a vaccine, Pfizer did not receive up-front financial backing before it began developing and manufacturing its vaccine.

Pfizer did receive fast-track designation from the Food and Drug Administration and a promise by the U.S. government to buy 100 million doses for the public at a price of $1.95 billion if the drug proved safe and effective.  That contract is part of the Warp Speed project.

The money for the purchase was authorized by the CARES Act.

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