According to three EU officials, European efforts to secure potential coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer, Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson have hit snags over discussions about price, payment method and potential liability costs, as reported in Fidelity.
The most complicated talks appear to be with Pfizer and partner BioNtech, with the two firms wanting the EU to pay them for 500 million doses only if their COVID-19 vaccine is authorised, one official said.
This might eliminate the EU's risk of losing money should the vaccine prove unsuccessful, but the bloc fears that if it waits for the vaccine to be proved effective, the bill could be much higher and they risk going "over budget," one of the officials said.
Meanwhile, the EU's talks with Johnson & Johnson are among the most advanced, but have yet to conclude amid negotiations over how to share liability costs if the potential vaccine showed unexpected side-effects, two of the officials said.
Sanofi is negotiating to supply 300 million doses of the potential vaccine it is co-developing with GlaxoSmithKline to the EU and wants an immediate upfront payment for the entire stock, two officials said.
However, the EU wants to pay in tranches and delay some payments until the vaccine has passed large clinical trials, the officials said, while one source noted that this has caused "some hurdles."
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