Can a drug manufacturer declare when a pandemic is over?

There appears to be an important limitation to AstraZeneca’s not-for-profit promises on the production of their Covid-19 vaccine. The UK based drug manufacturer, which is developing a candidate vaccine with the University of Oxford, committed to sell the vaccine at a no-profit price during the pandemic.

However, a memorandum of understanding between AstraZeneca and Brazilian public research body Fiocruz defines the “pandemic period” as ending on July 1, 2021. The period could be extended but only if “AstraZeneca acting in good faith considers that the SARS-COV-2 pandemic is not over”.

The vaccine was originally discovered by Oxford’s Jenner Institute and has received more than a billion pounds of public funding. Yet, the drug maker has given itself the power to declare that the pandemic is over by as soon as July 2021, allowing them to decide what price they charge after this date.

The original contracted price with the Brazilain manufacturer is set at US$ 3.16 per dose.

Here is Fiocruz's public statement on the disclosure of its Technological Order Agreement with AstraZeneca.