wants EU to continue paying for unused Covid shots – FT


Officials in some EU countries say the bloc is forcing them to foot the bill for millions of unused vaccine doses

Pfizer has offered to extend its Covid-19 vaccine contract with the European Union while scaling back supplies, but still expects the bloc to pay billions of euros for unused doses amid a large supply oversupply in some countries, the government reported. Financial Times. The offer sparked outrage from a handful of member states, who say the deal would serve Big Pharma’s interests over their own citizens.

The contract extension would delay the vaccine deal until 2026, with a proposed 40% reduction in doses delivered and delays in deliveries, the Times reported Tuesday, citing two unnamed officials.

However, despite the proposed cuts, the US pharma giant still insists it will be paid for the full number of doses originally agreed, many of which would never be produced under the new terms.

The amendments to the deal – the full text of which has never been made public – were presented by European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides at a behind-closed-door meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, but were met with objections from some EU members.

In a joint statement released following the meeting, officials from Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania and Poland said they would not sign the agreement with the proposed changes because they “does not provide a definitive and fair solution to the problems of the Covid-19 vaccine surplus and does not meet the needs of healthcare systems, the needs of citizens and the financial interests of Member States.”

Poland’s Health Minister Adam Niedzielski argued that the current Pfizer proposal would favor Big Pharma, and has called for the secret contract to be published, questioning the role played by the President of the European Commission , Ursula von der Leyen, played in negotiating the massive vaccine deal.

An EU watchdog launched an investigation into the negotiation and procurement process late last year after von der Leyen’s office failed to send personal text messages to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla for nearly 2 billion vaccine doses during the talks, sparking allegations of corruption.

EU chief cannot find text messages from CEO Pfizer

The 27-member bloc originally signed a joint contract with Pfizer in 2020, but since the pandemic eased, demand for vaccines has fallen steadily, leaving a glut across the continent. Some countries have been forced to throw away vaccines, with Germany alone throwing away some 36.6 million doses, according to public broadcaster BR24, while other countries sit on large stockpiles of unused injections, such as Austria, which has about 17.5 million in its stock reported.

However, Czech Health Minister Vlastimil Valek dismissed the criticism, arguing that the “majority of countries” had agreed to the deal and that “the contract is not bad.” He added that the large supply of doses would not be a problem “Covid is still here” And “It will be necessary to repeat the vaccination every year for a certain group of patients.”

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