“Private interests exerted undue influence over European policymakers during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a crying lack of transparency on publicly funded vaccine contracts which left the public with more questions than answers,” Rowan Dunn, EU Advocacy Coordinator at Global Health Advocates, a French NGO, has said.
Two reports released on Thursday and authored by Global Health Advocates and STOPAIDS, a UK-based non-profit, accuse the EU’s executive of redacting contracts with pharmaceutical companies and accommodating industry requests on such things as pricing, intellectual property and confidentiality requirements in a bid to quickly roll out the vaccines for its population.
This was despite the fact that some of these confidentiality requirements weren’t consistent with EU legislation.
“Protecting commercial interests came at the expense of supporting policy interventions that could have increased global vaccine access, and which harmed transparency”, the report reads. “With an unaccountable driver, the public were taken for a ride”.
For Belgian MEP Marc Botenga (The Left), who is cited in the report, “there was no real transparency in the contract negotiations. On the contracts, there have been minor steps forward – under pressure.”
“So, from the first contracts basically the Commission outsourced transparency, meaning they will give you what the company tells us we can give you. You are in a situation where the company decides”, he added.