BARDA Must Publish Its Contracts

Statement of Peter Maybarduk, Director, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program

Note: Today AstraZeneca announced it received a contract worth more than a billion dollars from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to develop and manufacture the University of Oxford candidate vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

BARDA must publish its contracts, and the Trump administration must order BARDA to publish its contracts. Congress must require that BARDA publish its contracts as well.

The lives and livelihoods of millions of people worldwide may depend on timely access to a vaccine. BARDA is negotiating matters of life and death. The public must be able to review the contracts to assess whether and how its interests are protected.

No corporation can manufacture at scale to supply the entire world. A vaccine must be made available to all, not just sold to the highest bidding country. BARDA and the U.S. government’s other vaccine programs must require technology transfer and cooperation with global health agencies to bring vaccine manufacturing capacity to the mountainous scale humanity will need.