BioNTech Says Ready to Reduce Vaccine Prices for Low Income Countries – Reports

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BERLIN (Sputnik) – German biotechnology company BioNTech, co-manufacturer of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, expressed its readiness to negotiate lower prices with poorer countries, the DPA news agency reported on Saturday, citing a company spokesperson.

According to the DPA, BioNTech announced its plans to supply vaccines to poorer countries at “a price that is not profit oriented.” At the same time, the company disagreed that patent waivers would be effective in curbing the pandemic and insisted that the best strategy is to expand drug production capacity, the news agency said.

“To achieve this, governments, manufacturers and international and national organizations must work together to support the supply of low- and lower-middle-income countries from the existing production sites and help to identify new certified sites,” a BioNTech spokesperson was cited as saying by the DPA.

The spokesperson stressed that IP protection is “not the limiting factor for production or supply of our vaccine,” the news agency stated. Patents ensure that the vaccine’s quality, safety and efficacy requirements are met, the DPA stated.

On Saturday, Pfizer’s chief executive, Albert Bourla, said that low- and middle-income countries had opted not to order the company’s anti-COVID vaccine.

The administration of US President Joe Biden earlier in the week expressed support for the idea of temporarily waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines and pledged to discuss the issue at the World Trade Organization (WTO). A number of countries have since backed the idea.

Several EU leaders and pharmaceutical companies have opposed the patent waiver, urging less financially disruptive ways of combatting the pandemic and boosting vaccine distribution.

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