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Pfizer to consider new production sites only after 'pandemic supply phase' - Metro US

Pfizer to consider new production sites only after ‘pandemic supply phase’

FILE PHOTO: Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc will consider making its coronavirus vaccine outside the United States and Europe only after the “pandemic supply phase” is over, it said on Thursday, adding it was not currently talking to India over local production.

The comments came after Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing sources, that the U.S. drugmaker had told the Indian government it wanted to produce the shot locally if assured of faster regulatory clearance and freedom on pricing and exports. The sources did not give a timeline.

“At this time we are not in discussions for any additional local manufacturing for this vaccine,” said a spokeswoman for Pfizer, which has developed the vaccine with Germany’s BioNTech SE.

“Once the pandemic supply phase is over and we enter a phase of regular supplies, Pfizer will certainly evaluate all additional opportunities available,” she told Reuters.

BioNTech’s chief executive told Bloomberg News this week the two companies could have the capacity to make 3 billion doses next year, up from their plan to produce at least 2 billion doses this year.

India is the world’s largest vaccine maker, and its companies have deals to make the shots of Oxford University/AstraZeneca, Novavax Inc and Johnson & Johnson, besides several local ones.

Pfizer pulled an application last month seeking emergency approval for its product in India after the drug regulator declined its request to skip a small local safety trial. That has kept the vaccine out of one of the world’s biggest drug markets.

The company declined to comment when exactly it could again seek permission to sell in India, as promised during its withdrawal.

“We remain committed to working towards equitable and affordable access for our COVID-19 vaccine for people around the world including in India, and we welcome opportunities to collaborate with the government to fight COVID-19,” the spokeswoman said in an email.

(Reporting by Krishna N. Das; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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