American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, which has been authorised for emergency use in Britain, has taken a significant decision on the pricing of its product. The company has said that the price of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162b2 COVID-19, will differ depending on the GDP of the country.
Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, said the company will have tiered pricing for the middle-income countries (including, India) and will give the vaccine free in Africa.
Bourla said this at a press conference organised by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations. Differential, or tiered pricing, is when prices are set depending on the GDP of a country.
In the US, Pfizer has set a price of $19.50 for a single dose. Bourla said "this is the price of one meal", adding that the company is in talks with governments around the world regarding the price.
Last week, Pfizer sought emergency-use approval for its vaccine from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) in the country. The subject expert committee will review its efficacy on Wednesday along with Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech.
Yesterday, the health ministry said that three COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer-BioNTech, are under active consideration of India's drug regulator and there is hope that early licensure is possible for all or any of them.
Meanwhile, Pfizer has also given its clarification on storage, which has become the company's major problem to enter the Indian market. Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine requires -70- degrees Celsius which does not match India's cold storage facilities.
On this, the company told a channel that it has developed a detailed logistical plan and tools to support effective vaccine storage, temperature monitoring, and transport. It also said that the pharma firm will be using different options for storage, ranging from temperature-controlled thermal shippers to refrigeration units, commonly available in hospitals.
However, in terms of efficacy data, some experts said it would be important to look at the data from people of Indian origin. "It is important to have data on the Indian demographics. We will definitely evaluate this point". Pfizer-BioNTech has not yet applied for conducting clinical trials in India.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech previously reported that, after conducting the final efficacy analysis in their phase-3 study, their mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate met all of the endpoints. Analysis of the data indicates that Pfizer's vaccine has 95 per cent efficacy.