Biden boosts US vaccine stockpile as world waits
White House aides said Biden’s first priority is ensuring that Americans are vaccinated before considering distributing doses elsewhere. AdRussia has sent millions of doses of its Sputnik V vaccine to countries around the world, even as it vaccinates its own population. Israel, which has vaccinated more than half of its population with Pfizer vaccines produced in Europe, has also attempted to use vaccine diplomacy to reward allies. Biden's purchasing strategy has come under criticism from nongovernmental organizations who have encouraged the White House to develop clear plans and thresholds for sharing vaccine with the world. So we’re not going to be ultimately safe until the world is safe,” acknowledged Biden.
The Latest: Ontario seniors won't get AstraZeneca vaccine
The administration is invoking the Defense Production Act, a wartime measure that gives the federal government authority to direct private companies to meet the needs of the national defense, to equip two Merck facilities to produce the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. AdBiden said Johnson & Johnson will operate 24/7 to produce the vaccine. Tom Wolf said Tuesday that teachers will receive doses of the newly approved one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, under a plan his administration will release. AdHe gave few details, but said he and a bipartisan legislative task force agreed that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should be set aside for teachers and then other workers considered to be essential, but who are not included in the first vaccination phase. States are receiving 2.8 million doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week.
Longtime Merck CEO, minority advocate Ken Frazier to retire
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)KENILWORTH – Longtime Merck executive Ken Frazier, whose leadership helped bring the drugmaker one of the most lucrative medicines in history and who is one of the few remaining Black CEOs of a major corporation, is retiring. Frazier, Merck’s CEO since early 2011 and an advocate for minority advancement who took on then-President Trump’s tacit support of white supremacists, will retire on June 30. He is one of the few Black CEOs at the head of a Fortune 500 company. At Merck, Frazier clashed with then-President Donald Trump over his refusal to condemn violence by the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. Share prices have more than doubled, and revenue has nearly doubled, under Frazier as CEO.
Merck ends development of two potential COVID-19 vaccines
Merck is giving up on two potential COVID-19 vaccines following poor results in early-stage studies. The company said its potential vaccines were well tolerated by patients, but they generated an inferior immune system response compared with other vaccines. Merck was developing one of the potential vaccines with France’s Pasteur Institute based on an existing measles vaccine. It said last fall that it had started early-stage research in volunteers on potential vaccines that require only one dose. Five potential vaccines have reached late-stage testing in the United States, the final phase before a drugmaker seeks approval from regulators.
Strong sales of drugs, vaccines, propel Merck in 3Q
The strong result was due to sales slightly higher than a year ago, plus restrained spending. The Kenilworth, New Jersey, company on Tuesday said it’s making progress on three efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic: two vaccines and an antiviral drug. Meanwhile, Merck is developing two experimental vaccines that only require one dose, unlike the many two-dose vaccines further along in human testing. Merck reported revenue of $12.55 billion, also easily beating analyst projections for $12.26 billion. Veterinary medicine sales jumped 9%, to $1.22 billion.