Ex-Official Says FDA Downplayed Risks At Merck Vaccine Plant

April 12, 2021
A former FDA safety officer says inspection officials minimized safety and health risks at a Merck plant retrofitted to help produce the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.

A whistleblower says that inspection officials with the Food & Drug Administration minimized safety and hygiene risks at a Durham, N.C. Merck plant retrofitted to produce the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In a complaint filed by the Office of Special Counsel, former FDA safety officer Arie Menachem allegedly cites several violations found during a 2018 investigation including improper disposal of biohazard bins used to collect employees’ waste and that employees were “soiling their uniforms rather than taking bathroom breaks which would have required them to disrobe and leave manufacturing areas,” according to an article from Politico.

The whistleblower also says in the complaint that Merck “intentionally destroyed evidence” related to the violations. The Merck plant is reportedly one of several drug makers’ facilities that alarmed Menachem. Merck signed on in March to help Johnson & Johnson bottle millions of vaccine doses by May and begin producing vaccine substance itself in the latter part of 2021, according to Politico.

Read the entire article here.

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