PFIZER NOW HAS THE POWER TO “SILENCE GOVERNMENTS, THROTTLE SUPPLY, SHIFT RISK AND MAXIMISE PROFITS IN THE WORST PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS IN A CENTURY” ACCORDING TO LEAKED DOCUMENTS
COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer Pfizer is accused of hiding behind a veil of secrecy to profiteer during the “worst public health crisis” in over 100 years.”
A report published earlier this week by Public Citizen, a consumer rights group with more than half a million members headquartered in Washington DC says Pfizer is able to change its vaccine delivery schedule without incurring penalties.
The report contains leaked Pfizer contracts with the United States, United Kingdom, European Commission, Albania, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republic and Peru.
The report begins: “In February, Pfizer was accused of “bullying” governments in COVID vaccine negotiations in a groundbreaking story by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
A government official at the time noted, “Five years in the future when these confidentiality agreements are over you will learn what really happened in these negotiations.”
Public Citizen has identified several unredacted Pfizer contracts that describe the outcome of these negotiations.
The contracts offer a rare glimpse into the power one pharmaceutical corporation has gained to silence governments, throttle supply, shift risk and maximize profits in the worst public health crisis in a century.”
According to the report Pfizer has 73 formalized deals for its COVID-19 vaccine but of those, only five have been formally published by governments and include ‘significant redactions.
The report accuses Pfizer of including secret language blocking donations of its own doses.
The report describe six examples from around the world using leaked documents to support these claims.
Brazil can’t accept COVID vaccine donations from other nations, without Pfizer’s consent
Some countries signed contracts, waiving “immunity against [Pfizer’s] precautionary seizure of any of [their] assets”, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.
At least four countries are required “to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Pfizer” from and against any and all suits, claims, actions, demands, damages, costs, and expenses related to vaccine intellectual property.
The Brazilian government was prohibited from making “any public announcement concerning the existence, subject matter or terms of [the] agreement” or commenting about its relationship with Pfizer, unless it had the company’s prior written consent.”
The report says “High-income countries have enabled Pfizer’s power through a favorable system of international intellectual property protection….. The CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, has emerged as a strident defender of intellectual property in the pandemic. He called a voluntary World Health Organization effort to share intellectual property to bolster vaccine production “nonsense” and “dangerous.”
In the event of a dispute between Pfizer and a government, private arbitrators, not public courts decide the disputes in secret. ￼
The Albania draft contract and Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, and Peru agreements require the governments to go further, with contractual disputes subject to ICC arbitration applying New York law.
According to the report “private arbitration reflects an imbalance of power. It allows pharmaceutical corporations like Pfizer to bypass domestic legal processes. This consolidates corporate power and undermines the rule of law.”
In the case of contracts signed by Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, Pfizer has the power to confiscate state assets.
The report concludes:
“Pfizer’s dominance over sovereign countries poses fundamental challenges to the pandemic response.
Governments can push back. The U.S. government, in particular, can exercise the leverage it holds over Pfizer to require a better approach. Empowering multiple manufacturers to produce the vaccine via technology transfer and a TRIPS waiver can rein in Pfizer’s power. Public health should come first.”(1)
Coverage of this report has been carried by major mainstream outlets around the world including Australia’s public broadcaster, ABC News (2) and the Washington Post (3) which is likely to lead to increased public pressure on government’s to curb the power of Pfizer.