Draghi: Some pharma companies may have double-sold vaccines

Certain drugmakers who developed coronavirus vaccines might have promised more than they could deliver, effectively selling the same limited doses to different buyers, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Friday.

Speaking of the EU’s proposal to expand the bloc’s powers to block exports of vaccine doses, Draghi told journalists the mechanism “should be used especially toward companies that do not respect agreements.”

“There is the impression that certain companies, and I won’t name names, sold things two, three times,” Draghi said at a press conference.

When it comes to vaccine deliveries, EU leaders have singled out AstraZeneca as the worst offender. The company had initially promised to send 80 million to 100 million doses in the first quarter of the year, but the amount has dwindled to 30 million.

Earlier in the month, the Commission announced it was setting in motion a dispute resolution procedure included in the advance purchase contract over the delivery shortfall. And Draghi himself, at the behest of the Commission, sent police to investigate a vaccine-bottling plant in the country last weekend to track down the location of 29 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Meanwhile, local media reports that the southern Italian region of Campania has independently acquired doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. Public broadcaster RAI said that the contract will go into force depending on the European Medicines Agency’s approval of the shot. Currently, the regulator is assessing the jab under a rolling review, with the timing of its decision uncertain.

According to RAI, the region’s governor, Vincenzo De Luca, thanked the Italian Embassy in Moscow for help in sealing the deal.

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