Vaccines against COVID-19 | Technology transfers already exist

In response to Philippe Mercure’s editorial, “Welcome to Montreal, Moderna. But…1. », published on May 8 in the Context notebook.

Posted at 1:00 p.m.

Fabien Paquette

Fabien Paquette
Pfizer Canada

In an editorial titled “Welcome to Montreal, Moderna. But…” Philippe Mercure says pharmaceutical companies have refused to share their expertise to get more vaccines made around the world. The reality, however, is quite different, as many technology transfers are taking place for vaccines as well as for treatments against COVID-19.

Across the top five COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, more than 300 partnerships are driving the production of billions of vaccine doses. At Pfizer and BioNTech, our supply chain and manufacturing network now spans four continents and includes more than 20 facilities.

We already share our technology with many manufacturing partners, including Biovac in South Africa, Eurofarma in Brazil and several others.

Our voluntary license agreements have been established with partners who have an excellent track record of producing quality vaccines and who have the capacity for large-scale production. This has enabled us to produce three billion doses in 2021 and to anticipate the production of four billion doses in 2022. All this while respecting the highest quality standards.

In addition, from the beginning of the pandemic, in order to guarantee equitable and affordable access to vaccines against COVID-19 everywhere in the world, we introduced tiered pricing:

  • we established a price for rich countries, such as Canada, where the price was compared to the historical cost of the flu vaccine;
  • we asked middle-income countries to pay half that price;
  • we offered the vaccine at cost to low-income countries, which represent about 50% of the world’s population.

In addition, we signed a voluntary license agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to share intellectual property related to our oral treatment for COVID-19 (Paxlovid) in order to allow generic drug manufacturers licensed to produce and distribute generic versions of the treatment. Last March, the MPP granted sublicenses to 36 manufacturers from 13 countries. These voluntary licenses will help improve access to Paxlovid in 95 low- and middle-income countries, representing 53% of the world’s population.

Ending the pandemic and vaccinating the entire planet is a major challenge. Real solutions to improving access to vaccines include strengthening and maintaining healthcare infrastructure to administer the vaccine, supporting front-line workers to administer the vaccine, and campaigning against vaccine hesitancy. vaccine to increase vaccine acceptance. In the meantime, we will continue to explore and pursue opportunities to integrate new partners into our supply chain.

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