CNN reached out to Siga for a statement in response to Drew Griffin’s investigation. They sent this statement:
Republican and Democratic administrations, biodefense policy experts, and the broad scientific community have all agreed that smallpox is and remains a material threat to U.S. national security. Smallpox is lethal, easy to grow in a laboratory and easy to transmit, which places the smallpox virus at the highest threat level (Category A) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of bioterror agents.
The U.S. government determined that there is a need for an antiviral smallpox drug to treat already infected people for which the preventive vaccine currently available would no longer work. Scientific models of smallpox attacks show that hundreds of thousands to millions of Americans could be quickly infected. The government concluded that stockpiling an easily stored and distributed and self-administered treatment in capsule form is an important element of our national defense.
This was not a “no-bid” contract. The government conducted an open solicitation for industry solutions to meet this threat, and SIGA was the only respondent that met the mandatory criteria for procurement of a smallpox antiviral treatment—including successful results in human safety trials and proof of efficacy in primate models. The negotiations and decision to award the contract were handled solely by career procurement officials at HHS who negotiated a fair and reasonable price. SIGA’s drug costs the U.S. government less, and often much less, than just about every comparable drug on the market. Never at any time was any elected or political official asked to intervene in the procurement process by SIGA or anyone affiliated with the company.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with