Watchdog: Investigate Trump’s Use of Hospital Funds for Questionable Warp Speed Contracts
STAT: ‘The Trump administration quietly spent billions in hospital funds on Operation Warp Speed’
Politico: ‘The crash landing of ‘Operation Warp Speed’’; Trump, Azar hand incoming administration major mess to clean up
FLASHBACK: Accountable.US’s July report: “Operation Warp Speed at Two Months: $4 Billion for Drug Companies, Zero Assurances for Patients and Taxpayers”
Washington, DC – As President Biden and Americans recover from the Trump administration’s failure to properly fund COVID-19 relief programs, Accountable Pharma is calling for an investigation following new reporting that the Trump administration used $10 billion from a fund intended for hospitals and other health providers for Operation Warp Speed contracts. The fund, established by Congress, set the money aside for “pandemic-related expenses including staffing, personal protective equipment, care for uninsured patients, and vaccine distribution.” In January, Accountable Pharma filed 14 Freedom of Information Act requests across the country to related to shortfalls in vaccine allocation — yet another example of a lack of transparency and failed leadership from Trump’s COVID-19 response.
“President Trump may no longer be in office, but Americans continue to face the repercussions of his disastrous and dangerous decisions. The more we learn about his Administration’s Operation Warp Speed program, the more questions we have about the secrecy and lack of basic transparency as billions of dollars were poured into the coffers of the drug companies,” said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Accountable Pharma. “With billions of taxpayer dollars and the health of hundreds of millions of Americans at stake, the public deserves to know the truth about why their money was pushed into questionable contracts instead of invested in underfunded hospitals.”
Accountable Pharma has been scrutinizing Operation Warp Speed since it launched. We’ve paid particular attention to the lack of transparency and questionable contracting, including those connected to senior leaders who were brought on as contractors and exempted from standard ethics and disclosure rules. We’ve highlighted Trump’s politicization of vaccines and pressuring of government scientists and public health experts, along with the ensuing erosion of public trust. We’ve also called out drug company insiders for dumping stocks after big announcements involving government funding. And we’ve laid out some of what we think the Biden administration should do to fix where the prior administration went wrong.
Additional Background – Operation Warp Speed: Eroded trust, questionable contracts that fail to protect taxpayers, and a distribution debacle
READ – Accountable.US’s July report: “Operation Warp Speed at Two Months: $4 Billion for Drug Companies, Zero Assurances for Patients and Taxpayers”
READ: “Drug Company Insider Stock Dumping Surged as Taxpayer-Funded Vaccines Moved Toward Approval”
USA Today editorial: “… the vaccine rollout is being hamstrung by unnecessary bureaucracy and complexity.”
Business Insider: “State leaders say Operation Warp Speed overpromised and underdelivered, setting them up to fail in the vaccine rollout”
Stat: “…last minute changes and funding shortfalls”: “…the challenges facing the Biden team are numerous. States have still not received billions of dollars in supplemental funding appropriated by Congress, hospitals and state health departments are warning of staffing shortages, and vaccination appointment scheduling systems across the country are crashing daily. The Biden team will also have to contend with massive, last-minute changes to the existing vaccine rollout that the Trump administration is throwing out in its final days.”