Pfizer in talks with India on vaccine approval

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Pfizer is discussing expedited approval of its Covid-19 vaccine with the Indian government, company CEO Alber Bourla said while announcing a donation of medicines worth $70 million to fight the resurgent pandemic.

“We are currently discussing with Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make our Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country,” he said in a video posted on the company website.

He pledged to send enough medicines over the next 90 days “to ensure that every Covid-19 patient in every public hospital across India can have access to them”.

“These medicines are valued at more than $70 million would be made available immediately and we will work closely with the government and our NGO partners to get them to where they are needed most.”

The medicines include steroid medications to reduce inflammation, anticoagulants to help prevent blood clotting, and antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections, he said.

That would be one of the biggest donations to India by a private company.

Bourla regretted that the Indian government had “unfortunately” not approved its vaccines for use in the country although an application was submitted several months ago.

The Indian regulator’s objection was that it had not undergone trials within the country.

But Bourla did not say if the company would waive its patent rights as the other major vaccine-maker Moderna has effectively done.