Criticism aimed at Obama administration's smallpox drug procurement

Critics are questioning efforts by President Barack Obama's administration to secure a experimental smallpox drug that will cost $433 million in total and has been cited as having questionable efficacy.
Senior administration officials acted to ensure that the federal contract went to Siga Technologies Inc. Siga is a New York pharmaceutical firm whose controlling shareholder is Ronald Perelman, a Democratic Party backer. Siga is set to deliver 1.7 million doses of the drug under a contract approved in May for the national biodefense stockpile, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The price of the vaccine is approximately $255 per dose. Smallpox was eradicated worldwide in 1978 and the only known remnants of the virus are being kept by the U.S. government and Russian scientists. The U.S. government has already compiled $1 billion worth of smallpox vaccine that it could use to vaccinate all Americans at a cost of approximately $3 per dose.
ST-246, Siga's anti-smallpox pill, would be used to treat anyone diagnosed with the disease too late for the vaccination treatment. According to the Los Angeles Times, the drug has never been tested for effectiveness and the chances of it ever being required appear remote.
"We've got a vaccine that I hope we never have to use - how much more do we need?" Donald A. Henderson, an epidemiologist who led the World Health Organization's smallpox eradication efforts, said, according to UPI. "The bottom line is, we've got a limited amount of money."
Nicole Lurie, the head of biodefense planning at Health and Human Services, said a 2004 study determined that there was a "material threat" that smallpox could be used as a biological weapon.
"I don't put probabilities around anything in terms of imminent or not," Lurie said, according to UPI. "Because what I can tell you is, in the two-plus years I've been in this job, it's the unexpected that always happens."