Amid many states in India facing a shortage of Covid-19 vaccines, global pharma giant Pfizer, is holding talks with the Centre to expediate the process of emergency use approval for its Covid-19 vaccine, the company's Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said on Monday.
Bourla further added that Pfizer submitted an application to register its vaccine in India months ago and that the company had earlier in April offered a not-for-profit price for its vaccine for the Indian government.
At the moment, Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin are being used to inoculate people against Covid-19. Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has also been granted restricted use approval and it will be used to vaccinate people once the company receives necessary clearances from the Centre.
“We 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 LinkedIn profile.
Pfizer had earlier said that, during the pandemic phase, it will supply the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 mRNA vaccine only through government contracts.
"Pfizer remains committed to continuing our engagement with the government towards making the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine available for use in the government's immunisation programme in the country," the company had said in April in email response to PTI.
In a related development, the company has also pledged to donate USD 70 million (over Rs 510 crore) worth Covid-19 medicines to India.
"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.
(With PTI inputs)