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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Firms pledge to not profit from covid vaccines till pandemic ends

The move by AstraZeneca, J&J, GSK and Pfizer aims at increasing the accessibility of the potential vaccine

NEW DELHI : Global manufacturers AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson on Thursday pledged to supply covid-19 vaccines on a no-profit basis to improve access to any successful vaccine when it is available in the market.

“It’s certainly a situation where we will not charge any royalty and make no profit during the time of this pandemic," Pascal Soriot, executive director and chief executive officer (CEO) of AstraZeneca, said at a global press briefing hosted by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations.

Vaccines, when they successfully complete clinical trials, will be available at a few dollars per dose, relatively inexpensive compared to what even testing of the disease would cost, Soriot said.

GlaxoSmithKline CEO Emma Walmsley, Pfizer chairman and CEO Albert Bourla, and Paul Stoffels, Johnson & Johnson’s vice chairman of the executive committee and chief scientific officer, made similar pledges at the briefing.

Soriot said he expects the first successful vaccine to be ready by the end of the year, with scaling up of capacity and supply expected next year, going by the pace at which the development of vaccines is taking place. Stoffels said that J&J, which is working on a vaccine through a subsidiary, is also exploring tie-ups for manufacturing in India. “There is a lot of capacity in India. So we are actively exploring what we can do. This is all of over the world but the very logical place for capacity is India," he said.

AstraZeneca is known to be in talks with Serum Institute of India over the manufacturing and supply of a covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University.

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