$433 Million Smallpox Contract

A senator this week called for an investigation into a $433 million government contract for a smallpox drug regarding the necessity of this expensive drug, which still has not been approved by the FDA.

The senator from Missouri chairs a subcommittee on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and says that there are “serious questions” about the contract, according to the Los Angeles Times. She is requesting an investigation since it was reported earlier this month in the Times that U.S. officials took unusual steps to award the contract to Siga Technologies.

The government reportedly blocked other companies from bidding on the contract in a second round.  Siga won the contract, however, some question of the price of the drug (approximately $225/dose) and the need of the project altogether.

The government already has a smallpox vaccine on reserve should we need it for biological terrorism. Siga’s pill is meant to help people who are diagnosed too late for the vaccine to be of any help, according to the Times.

The drug has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and there are limits regarding its testing.

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