Vaccine supply: Pfizer wants pre-order, advance payment

Vaccine supply: Pfizer wants pre-order, advance payment

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Global pharma giant Pfizer has sought a firm pre-order along with advance payment for supplying Covid-19 vaccines to India on the same lines as other countries which have opted to procure vaccines from the company, sources familiar with the details told ET.

This was conveyed by

in a series of meetings between Indian authorities and the company’s top brass, ET has reliably learnt. The matter, sources said, is now under deliberation within the government. For its part, Pfizer has assured that it will share latest technology needed for co-production if the deal were to materialise, including research and modifications to cope with variants of virus as they evolve.

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These meetings were facilitated by the ministry of external affairs through foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla. The Indian diplomatic mission in Washington DC also played a key role in organising conversations between members of India’s vaccine task force and Pfizer, ET has gathered.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar, who is currently in the United States, is also slated to meet Pfizer representatives to discuss supplies to India and possible future cooperation. The company had issued a statement on Monday that it will only deal with the central government on the issue of supplying vaccines.

The meetings with Pfizer were attended by Niti Aayog member VK Paul, officials of the health ministry and the department of pharmaceuticals. The meetings also delved into the details of Pfizer’s condition of an indemnity clause on which some possible solutions were explored, but sources said the main issue was first to firm up orders with advance payments.

“Whether it is Pfizer or Moderna, we have been coordinating at the central level… Both Pfizer and Moderna, most of the time, their order books are already full. It is depending on their surplus on how much they can provide to India. They will come back to the government of India and we will ensure that their doses can be supplied at state level,” Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the health ministry, told reporters at a recent briefing.

Many countries from Europe, besides the US, had placed pre-orders and paid in advance last year to Pfizer before the vaccine had even received regulatory approval. Japan, for instance, is on Pfizer’s priority list because of the upcoming Olympics. Pfizer and Moderna, which began supplying vaccines in December 2020, are committed to delivering millions of doses to these countries through 2023.

In mid-April, India announced that it would not enforce the condition of phase 2 and 3 clinical trials in the country for vaccines that had been cleared by US, EU, UK, and Japanese regulators, and listed by the WHO.

Last July, the US placed an initial order of 100 million doses with Pfizer with an option to request another 500 million. The US exercised the option for additional doses twice, and ordered 100 million doses each in December 2020 and then in February. Pfizer is also committed to delivering a potential 2.4 billion doses to the EU.

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