The Minister of Health of Argentina, Ginés González García, assured this Wednesday that the American laboratory Pfizer “behaved very badly” with the South American country in negotiations for the provision of vaccinations against covid-19.
“I have had a great disappointment,” said the minister when he appeared before the Health Commission of the Argentine Chamber of Deputies.
The minister recalled that last July Argentina authorized Pfizer to carry out a phase 3 trial in the country and in December the regulator authorized the use of the vaccine developed by the US laboratory and the German BioNtech.
In September the contractual negotiations and, to facilitate the process, Argentina passed a law with certain regulatory conditions required by Pfizer and other suppliers.
However, according to the minister, Pfizer objected to an article of that law regarding the responsibilities in case of negligence, adding new conditions in the negotiation.
“I do not know if they do not have enough vaccines, as has happened in almost all parts of the world, where they have not complied, or if there is another reason. But the conduct of this company has not been in correspondence with how it has behaved Argentina with the company “, stated González García.
The minister assured that Argentina has made every effort to maintain negotiations and reach an agreement, while Pfizer has shown “tremendous intolerance”.
“It seems to me that they did not have the vaccine (available) and this has been quite a strategy. Unfortunately, Pfizer, for the Argentine government, behaved very badly with us, “said the minister.
So far Argentina has received 820,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, of which 710,000 have already been applied since the immunization campaign began at the end of last December.
Argentina on Tuesday requested Russia to send another 5 million doses in March, out of a total provision agreed for this year of 30 million doses.
Argentina has also signed a supply contract for 22.4 million doses with the British laboratory AstraZeneca, which developed a vaccine together with the University of Oxford.
On the other hand, the South American country has a purchase option for 9 million doses (to vaccinate 10% of the population of Argentina, of 45 million inhabitants) in the United Nations Covax Fund, which has just assigned to Argentina a first batch of 2.2 million doses.
These three contracts would ensure Argentina the provision of just over 61 million doses.
“We have guaranteed the stock until July. (…) We have negotiated with several suppliers, we are certain that we have access to various vaccines,” said González García.
Other ongoing negotiations
The minister specified that the additional provision of 1.2 million doses is being negotiated with AstraZeneca. He said that in addition has open negotiations with Janssen, of the Johnson & Johnson group, and with the Chinese laboratories CanSino Biologics and Sinopharm.
In the latter case, the minister specified that while Argentina aspires to a million doses of the Sinopharma vaccine, China wants the contract to be for 30 million doses.
González García said that on the other hand there were conversations with the Butantan Institute of São Paulo (Brazil), which has a license to manufacture the Chinese Sinovac vaccine, and with the American laboratory Moderna.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Argentina has accumulated 1,952,744 infections of covid-19 and 48,539 deaths from the virus.
According to official data, this Wednesday 9,196 new cases and 113 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.