Operation Wrap Spend and Merck Organization in the United States Discussion

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  • COVID-19 infections were still climbing across the U.S. and many other parts of the world in September 2020, and it seemed that every time Ken Frazier, the CEO of Merck & Co. consented to an interview in recent months he always seemed to hear the same question, “Where’s Merck?” The company, a leader in the global vaccine business had a low public profile even though it was working assiduously on two vaccine candidates for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The U.S. Government had initiated a high profile program-Operation Warp Speed (OWS)-to accelerate the development of vaccines, but Merck was notably absent. Should Merck seek or accept funding from OWS, and what terms might accompany such an agreement?