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AstraZeneca's no-profit pledge for vaccine has expiration date: report

AstraZeneca's no-profit pledge for vaccine has expiration date: report
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New documents reveal that AstraZeneca, one of a number of companies currently developing a coronavirus vaccine candidate, has the right to declare the end to the pandemic as soon as July 2021, the Financial Times reports.

The British pharmaceutical company has repeatedly promised not to profit from its COVID-19 vaccine “during the pandemic,” but the new documents seem to reveal the company having a target date to declare as the end of the pandemic. 

However, a manufacturer agreement between AstraZeneca and Brazilian manufacturer Fiocruz seen by the Financial Times defines the “Pandemic Period” as ending on July 1, 2021. The period could be extended only if “AstraZeneca acting in good faith considers that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is not over.”

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The agreement outlined a deal under which Fiocruz would produce at least 100 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, worth more than $300 million.

AstraZeneca was one of a few companies, including Johnson & Johnson, that has promised to sell its COVID-19 vaccine at no-profit during the pandemic. Other companies rushing to develop vaccines, including Pfizer and Moderna, have not made such promises. 

AstraZeneca expects to sell its vaccine at about $3 per dose, and Johnson & Johnson plans to sell its vaccine at $10 per dose. It is unclear how much their vaccines will cost after the pandemic is declared over.

The U.K. company has secured deals in multiple countries to supply its COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently in late-stage testing around the world. In May, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a $1.2 billion deal with the company for 300 million doses of the vaccine for the U.S.

"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," an AstraZeneca spokesperson said in a statement. "We have created multiple supply chains to ensure access is timely, broad and equitable for high and low income countries alike and, with capacity currently in excess of 3bn doses, develop a vaccine with true global reach. We continue to operate in that public spirit and we will seek expert guidance, including from global organizations, as to when we can say that the pandemic is behind us."