Pfizer CEO Cornered at Davos, India Saw Through Pharma Giant’s Promises Early to Not Bank on it

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Edited By: Oindrila Mukherjee

Last Updated: January 20, 2023, 18:52 IST

The Centre decided to stand up to foreign vaccine makers and invest in Indian companies like Serum institute and Bharat Biotech to launch made-in-India vaccines. (Image: Reuters/File)

The Centre determined to arise to overseas vaccine makers and put money into Indian corporations like Serum institute and Bharat Biotech to launch made-in-India vaccines. (Image: Reuters/File)

Facts present that not solely was the vaccine supplied by Pfizer and Moderna exorbitantly priced at over $20 for every dose, however the amount promised by each corporations collectively was lower than six crore doses

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla being quizzed at Davos by journalists in regards to the firm’s Covid-19 vaccine has triggered the BJP to take on prime Congress and AAP leaders for earlier pushing for the Pfizer shot to be introduced to India.

The occasions date again to 2020 when the pandemic was raging and the overseas pharma giants, Pfizer and Moderna, had launched their vaccines triggering calls for from opposition leaders to import them. These leaders additionally accused the Narendra Modi-led authorities of prison negligence in not importing the vaccines on time because the second wave of Covid wreaked havoc in India.

But information present that not solely was the vaccine supplied by Pfizer and Moderna exorbitantly priced at over $20 for every dose, however the amount promised by each corporations collectively was lower than six crore doses to be provided by the top of 2021 – woefully insufficient for India’s want of 180 crore doses. If one goes by these guarantees, India would have struggled to vaccinate its whole inhabitants to date had it banked on Pfizer and Moderna.

What was extra bothersome for India had been the phrases and situations below which these corporations provided their vaccines to different nations – together with searching for sovereign ensures and an indemnity clause to save itself from any lawsuit, in case their vaccine had an opposed response.

To guarantee such feuds will probably be solely taken care of by the central authorities, these corporations even requested for sovereign assure during which they requested for the best to seize India’s properties abroad and the identical be pledged as collateral property in case the federal government doesn’t combat such instances for them.

Notwithstanding stress from the opposition, the Centre determined to arise to overseas vaccine makers and, as a substitute, put money into Indian corporations like Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech to launch made-in-India vaccines which have been administered by way of 220 crore doses to date.

As a outcome, in November 2021, when the 2 international vaccine makers had promised their first consignment to India, the nation started exporting made-in-India vaccines at simply $2.5 per dose. “It was all about the respect for our country, which we couldn’t afford to let down. Their bargaining felt like selling our own country,” a prime minister had then informed News18.

A ebook, Braving a Viral Storm, India’s Covid-19 Vaccine Story, penned by Aashish Chandorkar and Suraj Sudhir and revealed by Rupa Publications, particulars these occasions. It mentions that union well being minister Mansukh Mandaviya was so furious with an Indian official of one of many worldwide pharmaceutical corporations, who got here to go to him in 2021, that he didn’t even supply a chair to him after seeing the proposed documentation of the corporate’s supply.

The authors write that each one efforts of worldwide lobbying and getting India to signal a nasty deal had been resisted by the central authorities, all in nationwide curiosity. Citing interviews with well being ministry officers, the ebook says Indian decision-makers had been “ill at ease” with the angle and language of worldwide vaccine makers whose “signals were lopsided”.

The ebook says even when India swallowed its delight and signed on the clauses insisted on by Pfizer, transporting these vaccines and sustaining their working situations would have been tough if not outright inconceivable.

“There was pressure from these firms, their domestic lobbyists and global amplifiers in 2021, as well as opinion pieces written on why India was doing the wrong thing by not tapping into Pfizer. Whether these suggestions were made keeping in mind national interests or taken up expressly at the behest of the pharmaceutical firms in violation of Indian healthcare media regulations may never be known,” the ebook says.

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