Pfizer: will provide Covid-19 vaccine only through government channels

Pfizer has decided to prioritize orders from the government and to provide doses of its Covid-19 vaccine “only through government contracts” in India.

This could potentially mean that the US pharmaceutical giant’s vaccine, developed with BioNTech, may not be available through the country’s private hospitals, unless the Center or state governments decide to sell doses to these facilities.

Pfizer’s decision comes at a time when India has opened up its immunization strategy and has allowed companies to charge states and private hospitals a potentially higher rate for their vaccines.

While expressing the company’s commitment to making its vaccine available in India, a Pfizer spokesperson reiterated its decision to prioritize governments in their immunization programs “during this pandemic phase.”
The company would provide its vaccine “only through government contracts based on agreements with the respective government authorities and with prior regulatory clearance or approval,” the spokesperson said.

Pfizer’s statement came in response to questions from The Indian Express about whether the government’s decision to allow the sale of a company’s 50% of a company’s Covid-19 vaccine supply “in the open market” impacted its plans. for India.

The company was asked how many doses of its vaccine it would be able to supply and what prices it would charge to central government and in the open market.

The company was also asked if it had filed an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) application in India and when it planned to start providing the vaccine here.

“Pfizer remains committed to continuing our commitment with the government to make Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine available for use in the government’s immunization program in the country,” the spokesperson said.

The New York-based pharmaceutical multinational was the first to approach the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), India’s leading drug regulatory body, for the limited use permit of its Covid-19 vaccine. When he filed his application on 4 December, the company had already received EUAs in the UK. Although Pfizer had not conducted local trials or bridging studies of its vaccine in India, the provisions of the Clinical Trials Rules of India, 2019, allowed the company to seek approval with waivers to local testing, as it had already received the approved by a CDSCO recognized foreign regulator.

However, on Feb.5, the company said it was withdrawing its application after an expert body under the CDSCO raised safety concerns and asked it to conduct local trials in the country to prove the vaccine’s safety in the Indian population.

But with the second spike raging, the government reversed its stance earlier this month. It allowed vaccines with EUAs in the US, UK, EU and Japan, as well as those with the WHO Emergency Use List, to receive restricted-use approvals in India before conducting studies bridge. The announcement was made in hopes of attracting more foreign vaccines to the country.

Subsequently, the government also changed its stance on opening vaccinations and made everyone over 18 eligible for the stroke. In doing so, he claimed that 50% of the stock provided by a vaccine manufacturer to the country could be sold to states and in the “open market” to private hospitals.

Following this announcement, the Serum Institute of India, which had supplied Covishield to the Center at Rs 150 per dose, on Wednesday decided to charge state governments Rs 400 per dose and private hospitals Rs 600 per dose of vaccine.

Previously, when the central government was in charge of procuring the vaccines from SII and Bharat Biotech, which makes Covaxin, it had limited the price private hospitals could charge to Rs 250 per dose.