Global pharma major Pfizer is sending its medicines worth USD 70 million (over Rs 510 crore), from its distribution centres in the US, Europe and Asia, that have been identified as part of India's COVID-19 treatment protocol, the company's Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said on Monday. "We are deeply concerned by the critical COVID-19 situation in India, and our hearts go out to you, your loved ones and all the people of India," he said in a mail sent to Pfizer India employees that he has shared on his linked.in post.
"We are committed to being a partner in India's fight against this disease and are quickly working to mobilize the largest humanitarian relief effort in our company's history," Bourla said. Right now, Pfizer colleagues at distribution centres in the US, Europe and Asia are hard at work rushing shipments of Pfizer medicines that the Government of India has identified as part of its COVID-19 treatment protocol, he added.
"We are donating these medicines to help make sure that every COVID-19 patient in every public hospital across the country can have access to the Pfizer medicines they need free of charge," Bourla said. These medicines, valued at more than USD 70 million, will be made available immediately, and "we will work closely with the government and our NGO partners to get them to where they are needed most," he added.
The company's Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla also said that Pfizer is discussing with the Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country,
Earlier in April, Pfizer said that it had offered a not-for-profit price for its vaccine for the government immunisation programme in India and it remains committed to continuing engagement with the government to make the vaccine available in India.
"Pfizer is aware that access to vaccines is critical to ending this pandemic. Unfortunately, our vaccine is not registered in India although our application was submitted months ago.
â€œWe are currently discussing with the Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make our Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country," Bourla said in a mail sent to Pfizer India employees that he has shared on his linked.in post.
Pfizer has earlier said that, during the pandemic phase, it will supply the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine only through government contracts.