Pfizer keen to produce COVID vaccine in India if faster clearance is assured

The company was the first to apply for an emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine in India, but withdrew its application last month after the drug regulator turned down its request to skip a local safety trial

COVID-19
The Centre recently allowed 50 per cent of the country's vaccine supply to be sold to states and in the open market while reserving the other half for itself. Representative photo: iStock

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. has told the government that it can produce its COVID-19 vaccine in India if given a faster regulatory clearance and freedom on pricing and exports, Reuters reported.

“US companies want to produce vaccines in India under joint ventures,” said a source referring to Pfizer and Moderna Inc.

“They want faster approvals for clinical trials and emergency authorization use. They fear the government will introduce price control policies,” the source added.

The same, however, is yet to be confirmed by the concerned companies as well as the Union health and external affairs ministries, Reuters said.

Advertisement

Related news: Got your first COVID vaccine jab? It’s not yet time to drop your guard

Pfizer was the first company to apply for emergency use authorisation in India and had also requested the government to import the vaccine from US and other European facilities. The company withdrew its application in February this year after the drug regulator turned down its request to omit a local safety trial.

The company, however, had said that it will re-submit its application for emergency approval use later.

Pfizer had earlier said that it will “evaluate all additional opportunities available” once the pandemic supply phase of COVID-19 vaccine demand is over.

The government is also reported to have held discussions with Pfizer and Moderna in January on producing the vaccines in India. Both the vaccines have more than 90 per cent efficacy.

While Centre has capped the price of the currently used COVID vaccine – mostly Serum Institute’s Covishield – at ₹250 per dose at private hospitals, Pfizer and Moderna are reportedly not comfortable with the strict pricing and export restrictions imposed by the government, Reuters said quoting another source.

Related news: When it comes to COVID vaccines, Indians need broader choice

CATCH US ON: