Billions for Corona vaccines in the sand?

How much money does the EU Commission pay to Big Pharma? And what happens if the chemical laboratories do not deliver? The EU Commission does not want to give it away – now the European Parliament is rehearsing the revolt.

Preliminary contracts worth billions, but no transparency: the European Parliament does not want to accept this any longer. In the dispute about the development and production of corona vaccines, MEPs are threatening to turn off the money.

The quarrel is about up to 2.7 billion euros which the EU authorities have made available for so-called “Advance Purchase Agreements” – i.e. preliminary contracts – and the purchase of a vaccine.

Preliminary deals have already been concluded with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK and Johnson & Johnson. However, the EU Commission does not want to reveal the sums involved and the liability involved.

This drives the MEPs up the wall. “Against the background that vaccines are also developed with taxpayers’ money, it is particularly important that the public interest in scientific accuracy, safety and transparency is safeguarded,” writes Green MEP R. Andresen in a letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

But so far the EU authority has not provided any information on the procurement of the hoped-for vaccines and the terms of the contract. Moreover, it is still unclear how the Commission intends to ensure that a vaccine is delivered fairly to all those in need, says Andresen, who is the only German member of the Committee on Budgets. 

“The vaccine billions must not simply disappear in the pharmaceutical companies, so we need transparency on the terms of the contract,” said Andresen. The Greens are even threatening to freeze funds in the EU budget for 2021 if the Commission does not finally give insight.  

From Leyen and Health Commissioner Stella refer to trade secrets. If sensitive information were to be made public, this could make it more difficult to tender for supply contracts and hamper the Commission’s work. This also applies to liability clauses and compensation rules.

On the other hand, there is the confidence of citizens in the planned vaccination campaign, warns French MEP Pascal Canfin. “We will continue to put pressure on the Commission”, the liberal chairman of the Environment Committee told the daily taz. Transparency is particularly necessary in a crisis like the Corona pandemic.

True …

P.S. The purchase of the alleged corona miracle drug Remdesivir is also not transparent. According to an insider, the EU plans to pay the US biotech company Gilead more than €1 billion to supply up to 500,000 doses. The EU Commission declined to comment. Shortly afterwards it became known that Remdesivir is ineffective in the view of the WHO…

Translated with (free version) The original version (in German) is here