EU pharma boss urges for unity, avoid vaccine trade war

Nathalie Moll: "“I think we need to focus on the fact that we all have the same objective in mind, vaccinating as many people as possible,” she emphasised." [Photo by Sarantis Michalopoulos]

The European Commission, EU governments, and pharmaceutical companies should tone down the ongoing vaccine row and focus on one objective: to quickly manufacture vaccines for as many people as possible, the EU pharma boss, Nathalie Moll, told EURACTIV in an interview.

“Now is not a moment for vaccine nationalism or regionalism or a trade war on vaccines. Now is a moment to focus on the results, enable increased development, manufacturing, support, research, and focus on people,” said Moll, the director-general of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).

“It shouldn’t be about politics; it should be about people,” she stressed.

Moll said a lot of pressure is being applied and a lot of attention is being given to manufacturers.

“I think we need to focus on the fact that we all have the same objective in mind, vaccinating as many people as possible,” she emphasised but admitted that there will be fluctuations in the supply of doses.

“We’re dealing with vaccines and vaccines are complex biological products that come from a biotechnological production,” she said.

Amid an escalating row with British-Swedish drugs giant AstraZeneca, the EU executive launched earlier on Friday a scheme to monitor and, in some cases, reject exports of vaccines produced in EU plants.

This measure, according to the pharma industry, could result in catastrophic implications.

“Any mechanism that goes beyond the transmission of very factual information, meeting transparency expectations of where products are, would be considered a potential restriction to exports and would really undermine the supply of vaccines to the rest of the world. So, we also have a responsibility,” Moll warned.

EU's COVID-19 vaccine export ban risks global retaliation, warns pharma industry

Europe’s intention to control the exports of COVID-19 vaccines to foreign countries risks retaliation measures from other regions, the EU pharma industry has warned.

“Europe produces more than 75% of the world’s vaccines on any given day. And I’m sure in the case of COVID-19 we have the structures to produce many of those as well. So, we have a particular global responsibility in addition to our responsibility to all European citizens,” Moll added.

Moll explained that collaborations between companies producing one another’s vaccine are already there and will increase.

“So, Sanofi offering its manufacturing capacities for Pfizer, today Novartis doing the same, Bayer will be producing the CureVac vaccine once it is approved.”

“We have been incredibly resilient and capable of solving 1,000 problems since the beginning of this pandemic, in an incredible way. And I’m sure that we can as long as we do it together,” she concluded.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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