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Indemnity, disputes in US courts: Pfizer's demands before bringing vaccine to India

Talks between the government and the company are on for import of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The government is likely to grant indemnity but is not too keen to give in on legal jurisdiction

Pfizer asks for disputes over vaccine supply to be adjudicated in US courts Pfizer asks for disputes over vaccine supply to be adjudicated in US courts

While Indians are expecting Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine candidate's entry into the country under the vaccination programme soon, the US pharma giant has held up a complex list of demands. Apart from indemnity that's also been sought by other vaccine makers, including Adar Poonawalla-helmed Serum Institute of India, Pfizer is also asking for disputes related to COVID-19 vaccine supplies in the country to be adjudicated only in US courts.

Talks between the government and the company are on for import of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The government is likely to grant indemnity but is not too keen to give in on legal jurisdiction, as mentioned in a report in The Economic Times.

An official in the know told the daily that if the indemnity waiver is given to one company, it will be granted to other companies, including domestic manufacturers. The second aspect of Pfizer's demands is whether jurisdiction for dispute will be outside the country.

While the government has ensured multiple steps to ease imports of foreign vaccines in the country, including advance payments without guarantees, restricting jurisdiction to overseas locations is not likely to go down smoothly in the Parliament.

The official said that the government is trying to work around the issues that the company has raised.

Meanwhile, India has allowed import of vaccines approved by United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Japan's Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) and Britain's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Vaccines on the emergency use list of World Health Organisation will also be allowed.

Niti Aayog member VK Paul said during a press briefing on May 27 that they are engaged in talks with Pfizer because they have indicated availability of a certain volume of vaccines in the coming months, possibly in July.

Also read: India, Pfizer seek to resolve dispute over COVID-19 vaccine indemnity

Also read: Pfizer, Moderna, Serum & the indemnity issue; what is it and what it means for India?