Novavax releases Operation Warp Speed contract in SEC filing

Novavax released its $1.6 billion contract with Operation Warp Speed in a Nov. 10 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, NPR reported. 

HHS has not released the contract. The department told NPR in late August that it had "no records of the Novavax contract," despite the fact that the deal was announced in July, the publication reported. 

"We shouldn't have to be getting the details in these contracts through the companies and their SEC filings," Ameet Sarpatwari, PhD, assistant director of Harvard Medical School's program on regulation, therapeutics and law, told NPR. "They should be publicly available, and there should be input even prior to the execution of the contracts."

The contract was issued through a third party called Advanced Technology International. Members of Congress have expressed concern over the HHS partnership with the firm, stating that the contracts could leave out taxpayer protections and that they wouldn't be subject to public records requests because they were made through a third party.

Novavax's contract appears to include more consumer protections than other vaccine contracts, but experts told NPR it should have included exceptional circumstances authorities, which would allow the U.S. to own the vaccine patents. 

Many of the contracts that have been released don't allow the government to intervene if the vaccine maker sets an unreasonable price, NPR reported. 

Neither Pfizer nor HHS has released Pfizer's almost $2 billions contract with Operation Warp Speed. Pfizer reported Nov. 9 that its vaccine was shown to be 90 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infection in clinical trials. 

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