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EU Covid Panel: Pfizer CEO pulls out of Testifying

Covid panel chair “deeply regrets” decision by CEO

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has cancelled his appointment to give testimony to the European Union Covid Panel amid suspicions surrounding private communications he is alleged to have had with EU Commission head, Ursula von der Leyen. 

It was expected that Bourla would have faced intense questioning from the panel  about what passed between himself and von der Leyen before the signing of multi billion euro vaccine contracts. 

Politico reports Belgian MEP Kathleen Van Brempt, who is the chair of the panel,  saying she “deeply regrets” the decision taken by the Pfizer CEO who has been scheduled to testify on the 10th of October. 

“Other pharmaceutical executives have addressed the committee, including the CEO of Moderna and senior officials from AstraZeneca and Sanofi.” it says. 

The European Court of Auditors found that von der Leyen had not followed procedure when negotiating the EU’s biggest vaccine contract and that she had instead “conducted preliminary negotiations” herself. 

Politico also reported that the European Commission had “refused to provide records of the discussions with Pfizer, either in the form of minutes, names of experts consulted, agreed terms, or other evidence”. 

A report into the activities of the Commission details how the EU took “measures to help compress the development timeline for vaccines from 10-15 years to 12-24 months.”

“By November 2021”, it continues,  “the Commission had signed €71 billion worth of contracts on behalf of the Member States to purchase up to 4.6 billion COVID-19 vaccine dose.”

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