Manufacturer that ruined 15 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses once got a $163 million federal contract to improve its facility: NYT

Kelly McLaughlin
·2 min read
johnson and johnson vaccine
The first boxes of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine are loaded into a box for shipment from the McKesson facility in Shepherdsville, Kentucky on March 1, 2021. Timothy Easley/AFP via Getty Images
  • A facility that ruined millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses once got a $163 million federal contract, The New York Times reports.

  • 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had to be thrown out due to contamination issues at the plant.

  • The funds were for improvements at the facility and preparations for a potential pandemic.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A Baltimore factory that ruined 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was once given a $163 million federal contract to improve its facility, according to a report from the New York Times.

The federal government first invested in Emergent BioSolutions - a biotech firm that's known for producing anthrax vaccines - more than eight years ago so that its Baltimore factory could be ready in case of a pandemic.

But the factory has been marred with issues, The Times reported. It was previously cited by the Food and Drug Administration for a myriad of issues, including mold and cracked vials, according to the Associated Press.

Emergent BioSolutions told Insider that the company's quality control systems were "working as designed to detect and isolate any batch that fails to meet quality standards for any reason."

"No one, including employees at Emergent, wants to see vaccines that cannot be used," the company said in a statement, adding: "Any allegation that our safety, quality, and compliance systems are not working or that we do not take these responsibilities seriously is unequivocally false."

Johnson & Johnson didn't immediately return a request for comment from Insider.

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