Dividends and US selects J&J to helm beleaguered vaccine plant

In COVID times when the government sees a company messing up, things change quickly.

In Baltimore, there is a plant owned by Emergent BioSolutions Inc. which was making vaccine doses for two companies – Astra-Zeneca and J&J and made a large mistake. The 2 vaccines have different ingredients and they were mixed up.

In an article by Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times News Service, the Biden Administration through the Department of Health and Human Services decided to change the leadership and made the plant only making one vaccine.

The mix up is a setback and a public relations debacle for Emergent. The company based in Maryland had built up a profitable business by teaming up with the federal government – primarily by selling its anthrax vaccines to the Strategic National Stockpile.

J&J is working with Merck whose officials would help with the management of the Baltimore plant.

Emergent’s Baltimore plant was built with taxpayer support and is one of two plants are federally designated as Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing. The money was part of Operation Warp Speed.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, it is very rare for any government to order changes in private sector manufacturing because the government generally does not do. It supports, regulates, protects but it does not actually do the work. In a pandemic and meeting very strict targets, different rules apply. The government did not takeover the plant, Emergent still owns it but meeting government criteria is important, when administration changes management needs to be flexible,

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.


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