US rejected offers to buy more Pfizer vaccine, former FDA chief says

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, told CNBC Dec. 8 that Pfizer made several offers to the U.S to purchase more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, but the offers were declined.

Trump administration officials deny Dr. Gottlieb's claim, according to The Hill.  

The U.S. signed a $1.95 billion deal with Pfizer in July to buy 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, to be delivered by March if approved by the FDA. 

"Pfizer did offer up an additional allotment coming out of that plant, basically the second-quarter allotment, to the United States government multiple times and as recently as after the interim data came out and we knew this vaccine looked to be effective," said Dr. Gottlieb, who is a member of Pfizer's board. 

He said he believes the government turned down the offer because it's betting on more than one vaccine being authorized and wanted to diversify the companies it made deals with, CNBC reported. 

Making an additional agreement with Pfizer wouldn't have required the government to pay any money up front; it would have been an agreement to purchase the vaccines when they're available, Dr. Gottieb said.

Now Pfizer has made purchase deals with other countries, and the company has told the U.S. it may not be able to deliver any more vaccines than the initial 100 million doses it agreed to until next June, according to The New York Times

"But bear in mind, the countries that the vaccine was sold to are our close allies. There is supply from that [Michigan] plant that’s going to come into the United States in the second quarter. It’s just not all of the supply. Some of it was promised to other countries after it was offered multiple times to the United States," Dr. Gottlieb told CNBC

An anonymous Trump administration official reportedly told The Hill: "Anyone who wanted to sell a guarantee, without an EUA [emergency use authorization] approval, hundreds of millions of doses back in July and August, was just not going to get the government's money." 

The administration said it has five other contracts with drugmakers for a total of 3 billion vaccine doses, on the condition that they all receive FDA authorization. 

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order Dec. 8 declaring that vaccines made in the U.S. won't be sent to other countries until people in the U.S. are vaccinated. But that order wouldn't expand the U.S. supply of doses, the Times reported.

 

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