September 29, 2020

Spain and the rest of the EU countries “will financially cover risks assumed” by pharmaceutical companies in the race for the covid vaccine

The European Commission has just signed a contract with AstraZeneca whereby all Member States will be able to purchase 300 million doses of the vaccine, with the option of an additional 100 million doses, to be distributed according to population. The agreement, announced two weeks ago and now sealed, means that Spain will also be able to access a vaccine from the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company, one of the most advanced projects, developed by the University of Oxford, and which is currently in clinical trials to try guarantee their safety and effectiveness, according to the Ministry of Health.

Spain joins the centralized purchase of the European Commission of the Astrazeneca vaccine

Spain joins the centralized purchase of the European Commission of the Astrazeneca vaccine

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However, “to compensate for the high risks assumed by the manufacturers,” the European Commission reported this Thursday, “the advance purchase agreements establish that the member states will compensate the manufacturer for the responsibilities incurred under certain conditions.” And which are they? The health spokesman for the Community Executive, Tim Macphie, has not specified them, but has justified: “We must act as quickly as possible to end this unprecedented health crisis and protect citizens. This does not mean that we are going to compromise the safety of a future vaccine. Any vaccine that is marketed must meet the necessary safety requirements. ”

“In the race against time,” the spokesperson continued, “vaccine manufacturers have to produce a vaccine much faster than they would under normal circumstances. It could be 12 or 18 months, compared to a decade or more. under normal circumstances. So, to offset such risks, advance purchase agreements provide for Member States to compensate the manufacturer for certain liabilities incurred. That means that the EU and Member States are taking all necessary measures to protect our citizens, and the member states are prepared to financially hedge some of the company’s risks to ensure these vaccines are available to EU citizens. ”

Apart from the advance purchase agreement with AstraZeneca to reserve or grant Member States the right to purchase a specified number of doses of vaccine for a specified price, as the vaccine becomes available, the European Commission seeks similar agreements with other manufacturers of vaccines, and has already concluded exploratory talks with Sanofi-GSK on July 31, Johnson & Johnson on August 13, CureVac on August 18 and Moderna on August 24.

“AstraZeneca’s candidate vaccine is already in large-scale phase II / III clinical trials after promising results in phase I / II in terms of safety and immunogenicity,” explains the Community Executive.

The contract presented this Thursday in Brussels is based on the Advance Purchase Agreement approved on August 14 with AstraZeneca, which will be financed with the Emergency Support Instrument. The countries of the so-called Inclusive Vaccine Alliance (Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands) that started negotiations with AstraZeneca asked the Commission to take over through an agreement signed on behalf of all Member States.

Brussels explains that “the decision to endorse the vaccine proposed by AstraZeneca is based on a sound scientific approach and the technology used (a ChAdOx1 vaccine based on recombinant non-replicative chimpanzee adenovirus), speed of delivery to scale, costs, shared risk, responsibility and production capacity to supply the entire EU, among others. ”

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “I hope to expand our range of possible vaccines thanks to contracts with other pharmaceutical companies and to collaborate with international partners for universal and equitable access to vaccination.”


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