Covid-19: European Ombudsman investigates vaccine purchase contracts

By TPN/Lusa, in News, World · 22-01-2021 17:26:00 · 0 Comments
Covid-19: European Ombudsman investigates vaccine purchase contracts

The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, today launched an investigation into contracts for the purchase of vaccines for covid-19 concluded between the European Commission and several pharmaceutical companies, following complaints received by a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

The investigation aims at the European Commission's refusal to request access to information on contracts, but also to disseminate meeting and correspondence notes, in addition to the identities of the negotiating team members involved and is based on a complaint by the NGO Corporate Europe Observatory, which has been refused its request for access to contract information.

The European Commission's investigation into contracts for the block purchase of vaccines is based on the NGO which challenged the Community executive's refusal to provide information in September 2020 on the prior acquisition of vaccines, in particular that of the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, the first to be signed.

Emily O'Reilly gave a deadline until February 11 for the community executive to respond. She also points out that "after months of increasing pressure from MEPs and civil society, the Commission has recently taken some steps to improve transparency, but these have proved to be random and insufficient", and published a reworked contract for the purchase of the CureVac vaccine, keeping the other five confidential.

According to a statement from the Ombudsman's Office, "the CureVac contract shows that confidentiality has been entered into contracts", also noting that "the lucrative early purchase agreements that are being negotiated in the shade would use public money to eliminate the financial risk and liability of pharmaceutical companies developing covid-19 vaccines". This, he stresses, "without the corresponding conditions of public interest relating to price and availability, despite the €2.8 billion of public money already spent by the Commission on development and early purchase agreements for these vaccines". The European Commission began negotiating with pharmaceutical companies that were developing vaccines against the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus while the testing phases were still taking place, with the intention of building an expanded inoculation capacity and ensuring simultaneous access to all Member States. The EU will have access to a total of 2.3 billion doses, including doses to neighbored countries in the Western Balkans to the east and south in North Africa. The covid-19 pandemic caused at least 2,092,736 deaths from more than 97.4 million cases of infection worldwide, according to a review by French news agency AFP. In Portugal, 9,686 people died out of the 595,149 confirmed cases of infection, according to the most recent bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health.



Related articles


Comments:

Be the first to comment on this article
Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.

Please note that The Portugal News may use selected comments in the printed edition of the newspaper.