Pfizer was one of the first laboratories in the world that began conversations with the Argentine government to finalize the sale of vaccines against the coronavirus when there were still no vaccines or certainty about when they would be available. Such was the degree of rapprochement between the North American company and local authorities that one of the most important clinical trials in the world was carried out at the Military Hospital of the City of Buenos Aires. Months passed, finally the scientific development began to have the approval of the regulatory bodies around the world to start being inoculated, but something happened that prevented Argentina from being on the list of countries with access to those doses.
When asked about the issue, the Minister of Health, Ginés González García, said that they asked for “unacceptable conditions” to sign the agreements. He avoided giving details because – he argued – confidentiality clauses that cover the negotiation apply, but it transpired that the impediments are linked to the legal immunity that Pfizer intended to have in the country against possible adverse consequences of the dose in the population. González García supported that theory this Monday, in an interview with journalist Víctor Hugo Morales on AM 750: “We do not understand why they have so many demands, it seems that they do not have faith in the vaccine“, Shooting.
“If Argentina has been generous with any firm, it has been with Pfizer. We offered them the structure to carry out the clinical study here, there were contractual conditions for which we made a law and there was something in the local law that does not fit with what they want. And the truth is that it is very difficult for us to make another law, beyond the fact that it would not be the most dignified thing for a country”, The minister reviewed.
Despite this, he said that the government of Alberto Fernández intends to continue negotiating with the American laboratory, whose vaccines began to be applied in the United States and in much of Europe. These formulas represent an important logistical challenge for Argentina, since the doses must be conserved and transported below 80 degrees.
As it turned out, the main obstacle that prevented the signing of the contracts with Pfizer was an addition made in Congress to the law that was discussed and approved at the request of the pharmaceutical company. The rule grants compensation to the vaccine developers “except in cases of negligence.” “The Executive Power is empowered to include clauses in the contracts it enters into for the acquisition of vaccines that establish conditions of patrimonial indemnity (…) with the exception of those originated in fraudulent maneuvers, malicious conduct or negligence on the part of the aforementioned subjects”, says the law promulgated on November 6. That word, “negligence”, is what Pfizer is now asking to be removed from the text.
Argentina will begin its immunization campaign tomorrow with the first 300,000 Sputnik V vaccines acquired in Russia. González García revealed that another 5,000,000 doses will arrive in January. In the official projections it appears that at the end of March the massive distribution of the Oxford formula developed by Astrazaneca and produced -in part- in the province of Buenos Aires would begin. In parallel, there are talks started with two Chinese suppliers (Sinopharm and Sinovac) and with Janssen (owned by Johnson & Johnson).
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