Pfizer in talks with Centre to expedite approval pathway for vaccine
Pfizer is in discussions with the Indian government for an expedited approval pathway to make Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available in the country, its chief Albert Bourla said on Monday, while stating that the firm is donating medicines worth $70 million (over Rs 510 crore) for treatment of Covid-19 patients in India.
“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 posted on linked.in.
“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 treatment protocol,” Bourla said.
“These medicines, valued at more than $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,” Bourla said.
IT major Capgemini on Monday announced a Rs 50 crore fund to build Covid care ICU facilities, oxygen generation plants, other long-term medical infrastructure and provide relief operations during the pandemic.
In addition, the French firm is also contributing Rs 5 crore to UNICEF to provide immediate support across India for critical Covid-19 response care, by setting up three oxygen generation plants and RT-PCR testing machines.
Cautioning the global community against vaccine nationalism at this hour of the pandemic, India on Monday asked the developed nations to share technology and allow free movement of critical components and raw material needed for production of vaccines. “Countries will have to be open about sharing vaccine-based technologies. The TRIPS agreement will have to be looked at in the context of the pandemic,” finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
The government has waived Integrated GST (IGST) till June 30 on the import of Covid-related relief material donated or received free of cost from outside India for free distribution.