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Pfizer wanted Brazil, Argentina to put military bases, Federal reserve as collateral: Why India kept Pfizer away and how the usual suspects are wrong

Besides demanding safeguard from civil lawsuits, officials from Latin countries who were part of the negotiation revealed that the company also wanted protection against cases brought forth due to its own negligence, fraud or malice.

As India is afflicted by the resurgent wave of the coronavirus outbreak, with the indigenous-made vaccines running low on stocks, several individuals have used this adversity to urge the government to do away with the rules governing the approval of the emergency use of vaccines in India and allow Pfizer to sell its COVID-19 vaccines in India without conducting any bridge trials in the country.

With the daily coronavirus caseloads touching a new high, thanks to the inexorable spread of the infection in states like Maharashtra, the clamour for allowing Pfizer to sell its COVID-19 vaccine in the country has only grown stronger. Incidentally, the left-leaning and the self-proclaimed journalists are at the forefront of this campaign, pressurising the central government to waive off obligations that a vaccine manufacturing company has to fulfil before permitting them to sell their vaccines.

Earlier in February, the central government’s expert panel had rejected drugmaker Pfizer’s application seeking an emergency nod for its Covid-19 vaccine after the company insisted on a waiver of a clinical trial in India. The company wanted to sell its vaccine in India but was not inclined to hold the trials, which would have granted them the protection of being held responsible for any untoward side-effects caused among the recipients of its vaccine.

Latin countries accuse Pfizer of asking them to pledge sovereign assets, military bases to cushion against any adverse fallout of its vaccine

Apparently, India was not the only country where Pfizer wanted to ram its way through the vaccine market without being held accountable for any possible adverse outcomes. Latin countries had accused Pfizer of ‘high-level bullying’ during COVID-19 vaccine negotiations, alleging that the Pharma behemoth had demanded additional indemnity against civil lawsuits citizens might file in relation to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine.

“Pfizer reportedly asked governments in Argentina and Brazil to put up sovereign assets, including military bases and federal bank reserves, as collateral for potential future legal costs,” a report published on Pharmaceutical Technology said.

Besides demanding safeguard from civil lawsuits, officials from Latin countries who were part of the negotiation revealed that the company also wanted protection against cases brought forth due to its own negligence, fraud or malice.

Indian left-liberals, foot soldiers of Pfizer’s PR campaign?

Despite the unreasonable demands made by Pfizer of the countries across the world, several motivated individuals want the Indian government to cave into the demands of the pharmaceutical giant and allow its vaccines to be sold in the country. This makes one wonder if the left-leaning liberals are unaware of Pfizer’s bullying tactics elsewhere in the world or are simply acting as foot-soldiers in the company’s PR campaign to railroad the Indian government into approving its vaccine.

A bridging trial is a supplementary trial performed in a new region or country to get more clinical data on efficacy, safety and dose regimen. But, the left-leaning liberals and journalists are now passionately arguing against holding clinical trials in the country and advocating its usage without trial. Ironically, these are the same set of folks who had demanded the Indian government to revoke the emergency use approval granted to indigenously made vaccines in January 2021. They had then argued that the clinical trials were not conducted and therefore vaccines should not be approved.

However, now they have changed their tune, asking for approval to the Pfizer vaccine even when the company has been accused by other countries of making unreasonable demands to protect itself from any repercussions resulting from the administration of its vaccines.

The left journalists have, more often than not, championed a cause that is detrimental to the country. Earlier in January 2021, when India needed rapid vaccination to avoid the resurgent wave of coronavirus outbreak, the left-leaning liberals had indulged in raising aspersions on the efficacy of the Made in India vaccines, thereby engendering doubts in the minds of people regarding the vaccines. The scepticism caused by their utterances delivered a significant blow to India’s vaccination drive and the country could have scaled its immunisation campaign much more quickly if the liberals had not raised questions on the vaccines made in India.

Now, a few months later, the left-leaning liberals have no qualms with a foreign company wanting to sell its vaccine without conducting trials here. In fact, they are passionately exhorting the government to forgo clinical trials for the foreign pharmaceutical company that is reported to have asked countries to pledge their sovereign assets, military bases and financial reserves to protect itself from any adverse fallout. This duplicity betrays where the loyalty of the Indian left-liberal journalists lies, and it is clearly not with India.

 

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Jinit Jain
Engineer. Writer. Learner.

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