Representatives of Colombia’s government and pharmaceutical firms held an emergency meeting on Wednesday after confidential COVID-19 vaccine contracts were leaked.
According to local media, representatives of US company Pfizer and British company AstraZeneca met with government officials in the presidential palace in the capital Bogota.
No announcement were made after the meeting over the leak by the Anticorruption Institute, which revealed that the government is paying Pfizer $12 per shot and Astrazeneca $6 per shot.
The pharmaceutical firms included a confidentiality clause in contracts with governments around the world while selling the vaccines that could end the deadly effects of the pandemic.
The leaking of the contractual obligations, particularly the rice, severely weakens the pharmaceutical firms’ future negotiation position.
A Spanish leak, for example, showed in April that the European Union paid Pfizer $18 per shot.
According to the contract with Pfizer leaked in Colombia, the revelation of details of the contract allows the pharmaceutical company to seek compensation with the government.
Other leaked elements from the Pfizer deal
- The Colombian government agreed to pay for each Pfizer shipment 10 days before arrival
- Pfizer could suspend the agreed delivery of vaccines if the government failed to pay as agreed
- In the event payments were made late, the government would have to pay interest
- Pfizer could under no circumstance be sued in the event of unexpected side effects
- Conditions would chance if a court order forced the government to reveal the content of the contracts.
The leak created a major problem for the government of the increasingly authoritarian President Ivan Duque whose National Vaccination Plan has been suffering all kinds of delays.
Delays in the announced delivery of Pfizer vaccines, for example, could be the consequence of the government’s failure to meet its financial obligations.
The consequences of the leak, and the renewed talks between the pharmaceutical companies and the government are unlikely to be revealed voluntarily.