Pfizer for some reason was the first pharmaceutical firm to get an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, but until now, delivery of its vaccines remains up in the air.
By the end of the month, the first delivery of 195,000 shots of Pfizer is expected to reach the country based on the timetable of Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr., but all of that will be through the World Health Organization’s COVAX Facility.
None of the supply from the American manufacturer has a clear schedule anytime this year due to negotiations on the indemnity provisions and other demands, according to Galvez.
Pfizer’s serum has the highest potency against the coronavirus disease 2019 and about a billion vials have been requisitioned by countries in the European Union.
Another 200 million have been reserved for the United States, which should be the reason for the pharma multinational to have all the time in the world in imposing nearly impossible demands to guarantee delivery.
After an agreement is signed, it would still take “some time” before the vaccines arrive based on Galvez’s honest assessment.
The COVAX Facility committed 2.4 million Pfizer doses to the Philippines. The government is negotiating “bilaterally” for 40 million Pfizer jabs.
Supply direct from Pfizer may not even come at all if the experience of Latin American countries on the demands of the US drug icon are considered.
Independent reports in South American countries revealed Pfizer demands countries to put up “sovereign assets, including bank reserves, military bases and embassy buildings” as collateral for expected vaccine injury lawsuits resulting from its Covid-19 inoculation.
Argentina and Brazil have rejected Pfizer’s abusive demands and are not getting any supply from the firm.
Similar to the Philippines, initially the company demanded indemnification legislation to be enacted. Argentina proposed legislation that would restrict Pfizer’s financial responsibility for injuries to those resulting from negligence or malice.
Pfizer rejected the proposal. It then demanded the Argentinian government put up sovereign assets, including its bank reserves, military bases and embassy buildings, as collateral. Argentina refused. A similar situation occurred in Brazil.
The demand put forward to Brazil was particularly insulting as it asked that the country “waive sovereignty of its assets abroad in favor of Pfizer.”
The other demands made were that domestic laws should not apply to the company, that Pfizer can’t be penalized for vaccine delivery delays and that the American giant will be exempted from all civil liability for side effects.
Legal experts said the terms Pfizer is dictating amount to abuse since some liability protection is warranted, but not for fraud, gross negligence, mismanagement and failure to follow good manufacturing practices.
Worldwide, companies are not legally allowed to ask for indemnity for what amounts to its own shortcomings.
Mark Eccleston-Turner, an expert in global health law at the Keele University in the United Kingdom, said, “Pfizer is trying to eke out as much profit and minimize its risk at every juncture with this vaccine development and rollout. Now, the vaccine development has been heavily subsidized already. So, there’s very minimal risk for the manufacturer involved there.”
President Rodrigo Duterte had assailed the inequity in the demands for indemnity from big pharmaceutical firms, but his circumspection as a lawyer prevented him from revealing details because of a confidentiality clause in the deals.
The greed of profit-hungry capitalists to the extent of pawning the health of humanity for maximum gain is unthinkable.
Big Pharma’s unwillingness to compromise its bottom-line is the biggest reason for many nations to fall into oblivion while a solution is available, but which requires humans to practice humanity.
Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph