Vaccine maker Emergent BioSolutions botched 75 million doses of Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines, according to the FDA. But it still took in $628 million in revenue and gave its executives $8 million in cash bonuses, a New York Times investigation found. The company, which only managed to produce somewhat-safe vials of vaccine last week, has made more money in the last year than any year in its 20-year history. That was bolstered by its government contract, which exceeded the combined total of all of its manufacturing contracts in the last three years. According to the contract, Emergent was required to reserve its three U.S.-based plants to produce vaccines, but it would receive payments regardless of whether anything was produced. The government contracts were also issued despite FDA inspections warning of quality issues in Emergent’s other plants.
A government official told the Times the government was in “panic buying” mode in the heat to beat COVID-19. Emergent said it didn’t inflate its prices for the deal.