In the latest deal involving a (clearly anxious) government and a (clearly greedy) pharmaceutical giant peddling an as-yet-unfinished remedy or vaccine, the US Department of Health and Human Services and the DoD have announced a deal with Pfizer to buy 100 million doses of a vaccine candidate – once it has been tested and approved and all that.
We received the latest update from German biotech firm BioNTech and US-based Pfizer, who are jointly developing a vaccine, earlier this week. They released the results of an early-stage trial purporting to establish that the vaccine is safe for human consumption. The virus remains on track to begin anticipated Phase 2B/3 safety and efficacy trial later in July. The US government has pledged $1.95 billion for an initial order of 100 million doses of the vaccine.
The deal also includes an option for the government to purchase an additional 500 million doses, contingent on the drug being granted regulatory approval.
The US government said it aims to make the vaccine free to all Americans.
We expect to learn more about the “arrangement” when DHHS Secretary Alex Azar joins the “Squawk Box” crew for an interview in an hour.
As the FT reminds us, several governments have signed agreements with some of the 24 groups currently testing a coronavirus vaccine on humans, including the candidate being developed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca.
Here’s more on the history of governments striking vaccine deals. In the UK, HMG was aiming to strike deals to distribute each of the four main vaccine technologies being explored. These include: genetic vaccines, viral vectors, inactivated whole virus and protein-based vaccines.