WASHINGTON, DC – At the May 19 Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing examining Emergent Biosolutions’s multi-million-dollar contracts to produce vaccines, Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney questioned Emergent’s CEO Robert Kramer.
Kramer admitted under questioning that the United States has been unable to use any coronavirus vaccines the company has produced due to contamination issues—despite the fact that the federal government has already paid Emergent more than $271 million. Kramer also admitted that corporate executives sold stock to make huge profits before news of the problems became public.
In October 2020, millions of AstraZeneca vaccines had to be destroyed because of suspected contamination at Emergent’s facility. Chairwoman Maloney asked Kramer about the aggressive plan to sell over $10 million in company stock that he entered into on November 13, 2020—just weeks after the company destroyed vaccines and before this was made public.
Chairwoman Maloney said: “It makes me think you were more interested in enriching yourself than serving the public. If it was my company, I would be there trying to get it fixed so that we could get the results of the contract. So far we have given your company $628 million and they have taken $271 million and as of yet, we have not gotten one usable vaccine.”
After Chairwoman Maloney repeatedly pressured Kramer to answer her question about whether or not the federal government could use any of Emergent’s vaccines, Kramer finally admitted, “none of the vaccine that we’ve manufactured has been made available to the U.S.”
Chairwoman Maloney also noted that if Kramer had sold his stocks today—instead of before the news of Emergent’s contamination broke—they would have been worth about $5 million rather than $10 million.
She concluded by saying, “instead of thinking of ways to address your company’s contamination, you were thinking of ways to enrich yourself, and I am deeply troubled about this. We lost so many lives and if we had the vaccines, we would have saved those lives.”
Kramer and Faud El-Hibri, the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Emergent, both agreed to testify again after producing the outstanding documents requested by Chairwoman Maloney and Chairman Clyburn.
The exchange is available for viewing online: