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Pharmaceutical Executives Testify At Senate Finance Committee Hearing On Drug Prices

Win McNamee

Testifying before a European Parliament’s special committee on Monday, a Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) executive “categorically” rebuffed claims that the company’s Chief Executive negotiated a multibillion-dollar COVID-19 vaccine contract with the European Commission via text messages.

Janine Small, president of international developed markets at Pfizer (PFE), led the efforts in negotiating the contract under which the company agreed to deliver 900M doses of COVID shots with an option to supply another 900M doses.

“As to whether a contract negotiation such as this contract which you referred to, 1.8 billion doses, was negotiated through an SMS, I can categorically tell you that would not be the case,” Small said.

“I know that because I was involved in all the negotiations and discussions from the very start in 2020,” she added.

In September, Politico reported that Pfizer (PFE) CEO Albert Bourla refused to testify before the special committee tasked with identifying strategies to respond to future pandemics. Executives of other COVID-19 vaccine makers, including the CEO of Moderna (MRNA) and senior officials from AstraZeneca (AZN), have already addressed the committee.

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, told The New York Times in April 2021 that she exchanged text messages with Bourla for a month before reaching the agreement.

However, the commission declined to share the details of the texts sparking criticism from the EU’s official watchdog, the European Ombudsman.

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