Belgian minister tweets EU’s Covid vaccine price list to anger of manufacturers | Coronavirus

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A Belgian minister has inadvertently blown the lid off a sensitive and commercial secret – the price that the EU has agreed to pay for the leading Covid vaccines.

Belgium’s budget state ecretary, Eva De Bleeker, posted the price list on Twitter, with the amounts of each vaccine that her country intends to buy from the EU. The tweet was quickly deleted, but not soon enough to prevent interested parties taking screenshots, which have now made it public knowledge.

While access-to-medicines campaigners were delighted at the transparency, pharmaceutical companies were not. Pfizer complained of a breach of confidentiality. “These prices are covered by a confidentiality clause in the contract with the European commission,” said Elisabeth Schraepen, the US drugmaker’s spokeswoman for the Benelux region to the Belgian daily Le Soir.

The price list revealed that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is the cheapest and Moderna is the most expensive – as was already known. But the details allow countries that may be negotiating with the vaccine manufacturers to take a harder line.

This is the list of what the EU is paying:

Every country in the world has an interest in mass vaccination against Covid and there is a big ongoing effort to put together a programme to ensure all countries can access enough to vaccinate the vulnerable. But drug and vaccine prices have always been very closely guarded commercial secrets.

“We can’t say anything about this case, everything about vaccines and prices are covered by confidentiality clauses, in the interests of society and also in the interests of negotiations ongoing,” said a spokesman for the EU commission at a news briefing.

Belgium is buying more than 33m vaccines for a total of €279m (£253).

The UK, which is not part of the EY scheme, has secured 357m doses of various vaccines, including 40m doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech which was authorised for use in the UK before the rest of the world.

There will now be speculation in the UK and other countries as to whether their governments could have got a better deal with lower prices for their citizens.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Belgian minister tweets EU’s Covid vaccine price list to anger of manufacturers | Coronavirus

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