Pharmaceutical firm chiefs vowed that they will not bring to market any Covid-19 vaccine or treatment that do not meet strict safety and efficiency standards.
Globally, governments are hoping to secure a vaccine as soon as possible and to deploy the treatment for the coronavirus, which has infected more than 26 million people and caused over 860,000 deaths.
However, the sense of urgency have raised concerns that pharma companies as well as regulators would rush trials that were designed to ensure the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.
IFPMA virtual briefing
In a virtual conference, Pfizer chief executive officer (CEO) Albert Bourla said: “We will not cut corners.”
Pfizer, in partnership with BioNTech, is scheduled to complete the final-stage Phase III trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate as early as October.
The virtual briefing hosted by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) was also attended by several other top pharma executives who pledged to uphold stringent standards for safety and efficiency before requesting authorization for new coronavirus vaccines or treatments.
Dave Ricks, head of Eli Lilly, claimed that before taking products to regulators, “we first meet our own standards for safety and efficacy, which are high.” This was doubled down by Merck chief executive Kenneth Frazier who said: “We will not sacrifice safety under any set of circumstances.”
Safety concerns were raised after US President Donald Trump’s administration expressed its plan to begin distributing a vaccine before the November 3 elections.
Normally, test administrators must wait for months or years to verify that vaccine candidates work and are safe. However, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said a vaccine may possibly be given emergency authorization before the end of trials.
Bourla explained: “I understand also that they are skeptical… because there is so much politicization (of) the science right now.” However, he emphasized that “we will never ourselves submit for authorization or approval any vaccine before we feel it is safe and effective.”