Pfizer offers 5 cr Covid19 vaccine doses to India with conditions as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tours US
New Delhi/IBNS: Pfizer has offered 5 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses to India albeit with pre-conditions as the country ramps up production amid a raging pandemic.
Pfizer has asked significant regulatory relaxations in India including indemnification, according to the media reports.
Media had earlier reported Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine is facing hurdles in entering the Indian market over demand for legal protection from any adverse effects that may follow after the use of its jabs.
"The whole problem with Pfizer is the indemnity bond. Why should we sign it?" a government source was quoted as saying by Reuters.
"If something happens, a patient dies, we will not be able to question them (Pfizer). If somebody challenges it in a court of law, the central government will be responsible for everything, not the company," the source added.
It is worth mentioning that in February, Pfizer decided against selling its vaccine in India, withdrawing its application for emergency use authorisation after India said such a trial would be necessary.
Since the Centre is now mulling to enlist all COVID-19 jabs approved in the UK, USA, Japan and by the WHO for a fast-track approval, Pfizer could find entry in India, which is one of the biggest markets in the world.
Another issue that is preventing Pfizer from accessing the Indian market is Indian government's insistence on local trials before introducing the vaccine to the general population, Reuters had reported.
Significantly, the development follows when external affairs minister S Jaishankar is in the United States of America for a five-day tour to the United States and negotiations for a vaccine deal for India and the neighbouring countries are expected.
Media reports said that Pfizer vaccine's requirement for storage at -18 degree Celsius is also a major inhibitor to its widespread use in India in the absence of a more powerful cold chain.
On May 4, Albert Bourla, Pfizer's chief executive said he was hopeful that the Indian government would change its policy of local trials and a solution could be found to sell the vaccine in the Indian market, Reuters had reported.