MPs to check $300M Liberal authorities paid to now-shuttered COVID-19 vaccine producer

MPs on the Home of Commons well being committee voted Wednesday to launch a examine into the greater than $300 million the Liberal authorities paid to a now-shuttered Quebec-based pharmaceutical firm whose COVID-19 vaccine by no means made it to market.

Conservative MP Stephen Ellis introduced ahead the movement calling for the examine after reporting by the Nationwide Put up revealed final week that the federal government paid $150 million to Medicago within the type of a “non-refundable” superior buy settlement.

The Liberal authorities signed that settlement in October 2020 to safe as much as 76 million doses of a plant-based COVID-19 vaccine it was creating.

The federal government additionally supplied Medicago with a further $173 million for analysis and improvement and for the development of the corporate’s Quebec Metropolis manufacturing facility.

The vaccine by no means made it to market and Medicago was shuttered earlier this 12 months.

“300 million {dollars} of taxpayer cash was wasted and … was hidden deep in a doc,” Ellis advised the committee. “The sunny methods and transparency of this Liberal authorities have gone lengthy and much and deep into some darkish, dank cave.”

Well being Minister Mark Holland, seen right here in November 2021, says the federal government ‘did the accountable factor’ by supporting the corporate’s vaccine improvement. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Well being Canada authorised Medicago’s vaccine in 2022, however the firm in the end cancelled manufacturing after the World Well being Group rejected it for emergency use over the corporate’s ties to a significant tobacco firm.

On the time, Philip Morris Worldwide (PMI) held a minority stake in Medicago. It divested all of its shares in late 2022.

In February, Mitsubishi Chemical Group, which by then owned 100 per cent of Medicago, introduced it was shutting down the pharmaceutical firm, citing “vital modifications” to the vaccine market.

Well being Minister Mark Holland stated earlier than the committee voted to launch the examine that the Conservatives are asking for “a reference to psychics so we are able to know the longer term.”

Well being Minister Mark Holland advised the committee the Conservatives anticipate the federal government to have predicted the longer term.

“Let’s bear in mind again to the depths of the pandemic after we had been all praying for a vaccine. The federal government did the accountable factor. We took a wager on all viable, scientifically possible choices,” Holland later advised reporters.

“Think about the world the Conservatives are saying the place we should always have picked one and guessed that might’ve labored out.”

Conservative MP Rick Perkins raised questions at committee about whether or not Mitsubishi Chemical Group will get to stroll away with the mental property and patents produced by Medicago.

“That is the best way it seems,” stated Perkins. “Perhaps that is not the case. Perhaps the witnesses may truly shed some gentle onto these contracts.”

Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne advised reporters Tuesday that the federal government is negotiating a settlement with Mitsubishi in an effort to receive the mental property produced by Medicago.

“We’re very shut … we discovered somebody who’s keen to take again the belongings and among the individuals to show that round and that is what we hope goes to occur,” stated Champagne. “The expertise is sound but it surely was a matter of scaling and that is what we have been speaking to administration and we have discovered individuals who wish to take that over in a format that might enable the corporate to achieve success over the long run.”

The movement to launch the examine calls on Holland and Champagne to look earlier than the Home committee to take questions, together with different authorities officers and representatives from Medicago and Mitsubishi Chemical Group.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *