In February, Pfizer was accused of “bullying” governments in COVID vaccine negotiations in a groundbreaking story by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. A government official at the time noted, “Five years in the future when these confidentiality agreements are over you will learn what really happened in these negotiations.”
Public Citizen has identified several unredacted Pfizer contracts that describe the outcome of these negotiations. The contracts offer a rare glimpse into the power one pharmaceutical corporation has gained to silence governments, throttle supply, shift risk and maximize profits in the worst public health crisis in a century. We describe six examples from around the world below.
A consumer rights advocacy group called Public Citizen released a report indicating that COVID vaccine producer Pfizer has secret government contracts and used their power to “shift risk and maximize profits.”
Pfizer has 73 formalized deals for its COVID-19 vaccine but of those, only five have been formally published by governments and include ‘significant redactions,’ Public Citizen found.
The seven known contracts reviewed by Public Citizen are worth more than $5 billion.
The advocacy group – which gained access to several leaked, unredacted contracts – claims the Manhattan-based pharmaceutical giant’s contracts “consistently place Pfizer’s interests before public health imperatives.”
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS
The company requires that all disputes be decided through private arbitration, not public courts.
It keeps the process private.
The group also accuses Pfizer of controlling the supply of their vaccine.
Public Citizen claims the Brazilian government is restricted from accepting Pfizer vaccine donations from other countries or buying vaccines from others without Pfizer’s permission.
The country is also restricted from donating, distributing, exporting, or otherwise transporting the vaccine outside Brazil without Pfizer’s consent.
In at least four contracts, Pfizer has the right to use anyone’s intellectual property, according to the report.
They also got at least four countries to waive sovereign immunity. They can go after state assets.
Several contracts state that the government involved “expressly and irrevocably waives immunity which either it or its assets may have or acquire in the future.” This includes “immunity against precautionary seizure of any of its assets.”
These countries are also required to cover legal expenses if another vaccine maker sued Pfizer for patent infringement in their country.
However, Pfizer denied the claim according to The Daily Mail, saying: “Pfizer has not interfered and has absolutely no intention of interfering with any country’s diplomatic, military, or culturally significant assets. To suggest anything to the contrary is irresponsible and misleading.”
You can read our first story on Pfizer’s vaccine contracts in Latin America here. We found Pfizer had asked some countries to put up sovereign assets as a guarantee against the cost of any future legal cases. (Published February.)https://t.co/c0Y8qDIW4z
— Rosa Furneaux (@rosafurneaux) October 19, 2021