Paying Too Much for an Unneeded Smallpox Drug that Can’t Be Tested

This past Spring the federal government awarded $433 million for the development of a new smallpox drug, at an inflated cost, after a non-competitive bid, even though a new drug is unneeded and cannot be tested.  Smallpox has been eradicated, for all practical purposes, and the government already has substantial vaccine stockpiles.  With no actual smallpox cases, the new drug can’t be tested, and yet the federal government was apparently willing to pay over $250 per dose.  By comparison, the vaccine costs approximately $3 per dose.  It’s no wonder Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) is seeking an investigation.

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