Pfizer wants to sell vaccines in India at no profit

The Pfizer vaccine is yet to be registered in India although it had applied months ago

By Adithyan PC
Published: Wednesday 05 May 2021

On May 3, 2021, Pfizer Inc told the Government of India that there were no safety concerns regarding the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is yet to be registered in India although it had applied months ago.

The government in mid-April made it easier for foreign vaccines approved in the West and Japan to sell in India. The deadly second wave and a domestic vaccine shortage has forced India to seek foreign help. But these companies would have to undertake a local clinical trial within 30 days of receiving emergency use authorisation.

India has also invited Johnson & Johnson and Moderna Inc to sell their vaccines in the country but none have applied to do so yet. Pfizer had earlier approached the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) for restricted use permission of its COVID-19 vaccine.

But on February 5, 2021, the company stepped back after CDSCO raised safety concerns. India’s drug regulator wanted Pfizer to conduct safety trials in India. In April, Pfizer offered a not-for-profit price for its vaccine for the government immunisation programme. 

Currently, it charges $19.5 from the US government and $23 from European Union for a single dose. The drug giant said the shots could be delivered to vaccination centres using temperature-controlled thermal shippers.

According to Pfizer:

  • Doses could be stored in ultra-low temperature freezers at -70°C for up to six months.
  • In shippers for up to 30 days by refilling them with dry ice every five days, or in common refrigeration and freezer units for five days.

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