[Ip-health] Reuters: Pfizer irked after Belgian politician publishes COVID-19 vaccine prices

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Fri Dec 18 07:59:34 PST 2020


DECEMBER 18, 20202:43 PM

Pfizer irked after Belgian politician publishes COVID-19 vaccine prices

By Marine Strauss


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - U.S. drugmaker Pfizer complained of a breach of
confidentiality after a politician in Belgium published on Thursday the
price per dose of COVID-19 vaccines ordered by the country, according to a
Belgian newspaper.

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Pfizer is seen at the entrance to the Pfizer factory
in Puurs, Belgium December 3, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Belgian secretary of state Eva De Bleeker tweeted a table with the number
of doses and price per dose of each vaccine, after a 30-hour debate on the
Belgian budget in parliament. She subsequently deleted her tweet.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, whose COVID-19 vaccine is the first
to have been approved by Western regulators, is among suppliers to the
European Union, including Belgium.

Elisabeth Schraepen, the U.S. drugmaker’s spokeswoman for the Benelux
region, told Belgian daily Le Soir that the publication of the details was
a breach of confidentiality.

“These prices are covered by a confidentiality clause in the contract with
the European Commission,” Schraepen said.

The table briefly published by De Bleeker showed the Belgian government
paid 12 euros ($14.7) per dose to buy about five million shots of the
Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters the EU agreed to pay
15.50 euros ($18.34) per dose for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The Belgian price does not factor in unrefundable downpayments of hundreds
of millions of euros that the EU has made to many vaccine makers to secure
their shots, one EU official told Reuters.

EU governments pay the remainder when they order their doses.

“We can’t say anything about this case, everything about vaccines and
prices are covered by confidentiality clauses, in the interests of society
and also in the interests of negotiations ongoing,” a spokesman for the
European Commission told a daily news briefing on Friday.

The General Association of the Medicines Industry of Belgium said the leak
was a “grave violation of the confidentiality clause and hurts the
government itself.”

The European Medicines Agency has said a panel of experts will convene on
Dec. 21 to evaluate the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and inoculations in the EU
could start on Dec. 27.

Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org

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