White House could tap drugmakers to produce other companies’ vaccines

Jan. 27, 2021

The Biden administration could leverage the Defense Production Act (DPA) to force drugmakers to manufacture other companies’ vaccines.

The senior advisor to the White House’s COVID-19 response team indicated in a press briefing this week that the administration is exploring “every possible option” to solve the country’s vaccine supply crunch. Although the White House acknowledged that vaccine production is a “delicate” and “very sterile” process, the possibility has been raised of mandating pharma companies to produce vaccines and related supplies such as syringes and dry ice for delivery.

The industry is already moving willfully in the direction of ramping up production of approved vaccines. Earlier this week, Sanofi announced that it will help manufacture 100 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Under the DPA, the government can require that manufacturing companies prioritize defense-related orders ahead of their own contracts. Speculation has circulated since before President Biden was sworn in that his administration would leverage the DPA to boost vaccine production. The Biden administration released an executive summary of its COVID-19 strategy late last week, which directs agencies to use the DPA to increase manufacturing capacity for health care products, including vaccines.

Read the full Reuters report.