Feb 22, 2021
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Will the European Parliament reveal the secret of Big Pharma’s secret contracts?

The main thing is the privatization of income and the socialization of losses

In Europe, outrage is rising against the behind-the-scenes contracts of the EU leadership with manufacturers of vaccines against coronavirus.

For several months, various non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians and journalists have been trying to obtain information about negotiations between the European Commission and the vaccine corporations. “And hit the wall!” – writes French World“It looks like the European Union’s access to documents legislation did not apply to the COVID vaccine negotiations!” – quoted by the newspaper Olivier Hödemann, coordinator Observatory of Corporate Europe (CEO), a nongovernmental organization that studies “The influence of corporate lobbying on the formation of EU policy”

The NGO filed a complaint with European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, who on 22 January launched an investigation into “Failure to comply with the obligation to properly handle requests for public access to documents”


Photo: REUTERS Yuki Iwamura

The efforts have borne some fruit. On January 19, a contract with a German vaccine laboratory was unveiled Curevac… And ten days later, the deals of the Anglo-Swedish company were declassified. AstraZeneca

However, the main points of these contracts were painted over in the texts of documents, said the chairman of the European Parliament committee on the environment, public health and food safety. (ENVI) Pascal Kanfen. He asked European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakidou in October 2020 to make public the “Four elements of every contract entered into with the pharmaceutical industry: cost structure and price, place of production, intellectual property regime, liability regime”… We want these provisions to be known to everyone, Kanfen said.

The filled-in paragraphs of the Astrazenek contract

Shaded paragraphs of the contract Astra-Zeneca

World notes that the European Commission has not reacted in any way to what is obvious to all unbiased experts: “Scientific maturity of vaccines was not a decisive factor in the European pre-procurement strategy [вакцин]; other criteria could take precedence, in particular economic “… So, American companies Modern, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson and Johnson during negotiations with the European Commission “They strictly demanded that they be released from liability in cases of negative consequences of vaccination”, – said a high-ranking member of the European Commission.

The price of vaccines purchased by the European Union remains classified. “Although the contracts with Curevac, Sanofi / GSK and AstraZeneca were published by the European Commission, the paragraphs regarding the price of one dose were carefully hidden. Only a computer error allowed several media outlets … to gain access to confidential information contained in the contract with AstraZeneca. “, – the edition writes.

Big Pharma joined in criticizing behind-the-scenes contracts with corporations IN New York Times: “When members of the European Parliament sat down to read the first public contract for the purchase of coronavirus vaccines, they noticed that something was missing … Price per dose? Painted. Deployment schedule? Painted. Advance amount? Painted. And this contract between the German pharmaceutical company CureVac and the European Union is considered one of the most transparent in the world “

For journalists New York Times learned that the US government funded the development and production of vaccines for all American pharmaceutical companies and, in particular, fully paid for the development of vaccines Modern and Novawax… And while these vaccines are funded by American taxpayers, “Pharmaceutical companies fully own the patents”… This means that they “Can decide how and where to produce vaccines and how much they will cost”

The New York Times reporters learned that the US government funded the development and production of vaccines for all American pharmaceutical companies and, in particular, fully paid for the development of Moderna and Novavax vaccines

Several countries, initiated by India and South Africa, have petitioned WHO to waive the intellectual property rights of pharmaceutical corporations on coronavirus vaccines so that other manufacturers can also start producing these vaccines. However, the idea is almost doomed to failure due to “Resistance from the US and Europe, where drug makers say patents and the profits from them are a source of innovation.”

This is what needs to be recorded: in the story of the “pandemic” profits for corporations Big Pharma – at the first place. Medical considerations, human health have nothing to do with it.

The secret of the price of contracts is guarded in every possible way. “Some pharmaceutical companies have included clauses in their supply contracts that allow them to suspend supplies if countries disclose a price.”, – writes New York Times

In mid-February 2021, under public pressure, the EU leadership nevertheless announced its contracts with vaccine manufacturers. “You can see from them how the European authorities have caved in to the requirements of the pharmaceutical industry. Three contracts were in the public domain, Writes the French L’Humanite… – The most important parts of the text were hidden under the pretext of protecting the interests of the monopoly laboratories. Articles related to the privatization of income and the socialization of losses were deleted from the published contracts. However, it is already clear from what is already available: the responsibility for the side effects of vaccines falls on the EU member states “

Out of eight contracts for the purchase of vaccines signed by the EU with companies Big Pharma, only three are officially available to the public: СureVac, AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK… Brussels promises to soon present the fourth, concluded with the American group Johnson and JohnsonModern and Pfizer-BioNTech, the manufacturers of the two main and most expensive compared to other vaccines still refuse to publish any information about their agreements with the European Union.

L’Humanite began her own investigation of shadow contracts. One of the main persons involved in these secret deals is Richard Bergström, a former leader “The main pharmaceutical lobby in Europe of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA)”, which includes some of the largest companies in the industry, including GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Pfizer, Lilly and Johnson and Johnson

“Bergström was present at all stages of the negotiations. In the journals of official meetings of European Commissioners and their cabinet members … since spring 2020, its representatives have met 34 times in Brussels with top-level leaders: 15 times with Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and 8 times with European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton. “

About a dubious role EFPIA and Bergström personally in the situation with vaccinations in Europe, the British The keeper… Three years ago, the European Union, according to the publication, turned to the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world that are part of a public-private partnership. Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), with a proposal to start developing vaccines against pathogenic organisms, including coronaviruses, in order to have time to create them before the start of epidemic outbreaks. Governing body Icomposed of officials of the European Commission and representatives EFPIA, rejected this initiative.

Currently, 62 MEPs are circulating a petition demanding additional information on all issues related to vaccination. However, hardly dependent on corporations Big Pharma The European Union will defeat the global pharmaceutical monster. Are the interests of the European bureaucracy and the pharmaceutical industry monopolists so far from each other?

Cover photo: REUTERS / Dado Ruvic

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