Committed To Being Partner In India’s Fight Against COVID-19: Pfizer Donates Drugs

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Pfizer Donates Drugs to India: Pharma major Pfizer Inc. on Monday announced that it will ship medicines worth USD 70 million (over Rs. 510 crore) to India.

CEO Albert Bourla said the company is currently discussing an “expedited approval pathway” with the Indian government to make the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country. He announced a donation of medicines from its distribution centres in the US, Europe and Asia, according to India’s COVID-19 treatment protocol.

Bourla said that the company is “deeply concerned” by the critical COVID-19 situation in India. He said in a mail sent to Pfizer India employees that they have sought an “expedited approval pathway” from the Indian government for the Pfizer vaccine. Earlier in February, the drug major had to withdraw a request for emergency approval of its coronavirus vaccine in India.

The company noted that the Pfizer vaccine is currently not registered in India. However, the application was submitted several months ago. Bourla explained how they are committed to being partners in India’s fight against this virus. He revealed currently they are “working to mobilize the largest humanitarian relief effort in our company’s history”.

Pfizer is prepping to distribute these medicines to make sure that every COVID-19 patient in every public hospital across the country can have access to the medicines free of charge, stated Bourla. The medicines he said will be available immediately and revealed that they will “work closely with the government and our NGO partners to get them to where they are needed most.”

Developed with BioNTech, Pfizer vaccine is “safe” to use in countries like the USA, UK and Bahrain. The company became the first pharmaceutical firm to seek an Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for its coronavirus vaccine in India in December 2020. The request for approval was declined citing a necessary small local trial on the vaccine’s safety and immunogenicity for Indians, Reuters reported. The trials for its mRNA vaccine never happened and subsequently, the applications of Serum Institute of India’s (SII) Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin were approved for mass use. The vaccine has an efficacy of 95 percent against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.

So far, India has witnessed the vaccination drive on as many as 9,89,700 beneficiaries for the first dose and 6.58 lakh beneficiaries received the second dose on Saturday, according to the Health Ministry.