RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group that analyzed the deals, said Pfizer’s dominance over sovereign countries poses fundamental challenges to the pandemic response.
The group released a report Tuesday (19) revealing how U.S. drugmaker Pfizer – one of the companies that developed a Covid-19 vaccine – is leveraging its power in times of pandemic.
The U.S.-based nonprofit Public Citizen examined Pfizer’s contracts with Brazil, Chile, and Colombia, among other countries. “The contracts offer a rare glimpse into the power a pharmaceutical company has gained to silence governments, expedite care, offload risk and maximize profits during the worst public health crisis in a century,” the release says.
DETAILS OF THE CONTRACT
Public Citizen revealed that the contract signed with Brazil prohibits authorities from making “any public disclosure” about the terms of the agreement with Pfizer without the company’s permission. Pfizer also prohibits Brazil from donating its vaccine to other countries.
The pharmaceutical company also required at least four countries to “indemnify, defend and hold harmless” Pfizer from all claims, damages, and costs related to the vaccine’s intellectual property. Public Citizen stated that the contract provides that if another vaccine manufacturer sues Pfizer for patent infringement in Colombia, “the Colombian government will cover the costs.”
According to the revelations, Pfizer requires that contractual disputes be resolved by private arbitration, where proceedings are generally secret, rather than in judicial courts where proceedings are generally public.
In addition, the contracts with Brazil, Colombia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, and Peru include the point that the countries “expressly and irrevocably waive any right to immunity” that they or their assets may have in the future, with some of them also waiving immunity from preemptive seizure of their assets.
Pfizer spokeswoman Sharon Castillo said the company has not interfered and has “absolutely no intention of interfering” with any country’s important diplomatic, military or cultural institutions, the Washington Post reports.
In addition, the company can change the delivery date for its drug. “In the vast majority of contracts, Pfizer’s interests come first,” Public Citizen said, adding, “Pfizer’s dominance over sovereign countries poses fundamental challenges to the pandemic response.”
TOO BIG TO FAIL
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which distributes and sells its Sputnik V vaccine that competes directly with those of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, pointed out Monday that mRNA vaccine developers – such as Pfizer and Moderna – are “pulling governmental, regulatory and media levers to achieve a ‘too big to fail’ monopoly.”
In this context, RDIF emphasized the need for a portfolio approach to reduce the risks of the technology, whose long-term effects are unknown, and prevent the emergence of a monopoly in this field.
Read the report here.
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