AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot has mounted strong advocacy for the drug maker’s Covid-19 vaccination efforts, saying the company should be proud of what it has done for the world and is doing “the best.” to produce more, as the company faces EU legal action for non-delivery, and shipments to poorer countries have also been delayed.
The company generated $ 275 million (£ 197 million) in revenue from the Covid vaccine it developed with the University of Oxford in the first three months of the year and shipped 48 million doses to 120 countries through the global vaccine sharing initiative. Covax, 80% of which went to low- and middle-income countries. In total, it has supplied more than 300 million doses of vaccine to more than 165 countries so far this year.
“We do not regret anything, we have not been perfect but we did our best, we should be proud of what we did in the world,” said Soriot. He added that the company was on track to produce 200 million doses ready for distribution one month from May.
In India, where Covid cases have exploded in a second catastrophic wave, more than 90% of vaccines are made with the AstraZeneca jab. “Imagine what India would be like if we hadn’t stepped up?” Soriot said. “The world needs this vaccine.”
Most of the vaccine revenue in the first quarter, $ 224 million, came from Europe, as the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker reported that overall quarterly revenue rose 15% to $ 7.3 billion, better than expected analysts. New drugs, such as the diabetes drug Farxiga, contributed more than half of the revenue. The company made a pre-tax profit of $ 1.6 billion, an increase of 72% year-on-year.
US rivals Pfizer and Moderna hope to make billions of dollars from their coronavirus vaccines, but AstraZeneca has vowed to make its vaccine available for non-profit purposes during the current pandemic. He made a loss of three cents a share on the vaccine in the first quarter, but hopes to break even with the vaccine in the long term.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine is considered a lifesaver for poorer countries, as it is cheaper and easier to store and transport than some of the other coronavirus vaccines that are being produced.