(Reuters) - AstraZeneca AZN.L could start profiting from its COVID-19 vaccine as soon as July next year, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing a memo showing the British drugmaker can declare when it considers the pandemic to have ended.
The London-listed firm previously said it would not profit from the vaccine "during the pandemic", and the report attributes the development to a memorandum of understanding signed this year between AstraZeneca and Brazilian public health organization, Fiocruz. (on.ft.com/3lgC0Xo)
AstraZeneca, which developed the vaccine with Oxford University, signed multiple supply-and-manufacture deals for more than 3 billion doses globally, although details on the terms have been scant.
According to FT, the “Pandemic Period” could be further extended beyond July 1, 2021, but only if Cambridge, England-based AstraZeneca “acting in good faith considers that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is not over.”
“From the outset, AstraZeneca’s approach has been to treat the development of the vaccine as a response to a global public health emergency, not a commercial opportunity,” the drugmaker said in a statement on Thursday.
The company said it has created multiple supply chains to ensure that access to its vaccine is timely, broad and equitable for high- and low-income countries alike, “with capacity currently in excess of three billion doses.”
“We continue to operate in that public spirit and we will seek expert guidance, including from global organisations, as to when we can say that the pandemic is behind us,” the company added.
Pricing and supply of experimental COVID-19 vaccines have been widely debated as richer countries pump billions of dollars into funding, and AstraZeneca has also been granted protection from future liability claims.
Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; additonal reporting by Juby Babu; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Ramakrishnan M. and Sherry Jacob-Phillips
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