After refusing Pfizer’s offers in the first negotiations to obtain vaccines against Covid-19, federal government representatives celebrated on Thursday (26) the company’s announcement of a letter of intent with the Brazilian Eurofarma for the production of immunizations in the country .
Earlier, members of the laboratories announced the agreement aimed at local production as early as 2022, with the capacity to reach more than 100 million doses.
At an event at the Ministry of Health, the minister of the Civil House, Ciro Nogueira, classified the announcement as a “historic moment” and thanked the “trust in the country”.
The Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, said that the decision is “the result of the credibility that Brazil has of Brazilian legislation, which is strictly enforced”.
Despite the government having rejected Pfizer’s proposals for months, Queiroga attributed the laboratory’s decision to what he called the government’s liberal character.
“Why does Pfizer come here to Brazil? Because Pfizer is intelligent and knows that in this country there is a liberal government, a government that respects the law and wants to participate in key areas such as health and education, and let the private sector work” , he said.
According to the president of Pfizer in Brazil, Marta Diez, negotiations with Eurofarma began two months ago. “In record time we reached an agreement that reflects this letter of intent,” he said.
Production in Brazil will take place at Eurofarma’s plant in Itapevi (SP). The intention to manufacture the vaccine in Brazil was revealed by column Mônica Bergamo.
With the measure, the company now has a structure for the manufacture of doses with 20 installations on four continents, said the President of Pfizer in Latin America, Carlos Murillo, who thanked what he called an effort by the federal government.
Afterwards, representatives of the laboratories met with President Jair Bolsonaro at the Palácio do Planalto.
The announcement comes at a time when the debate on the urgency of increasing the production of immunizing agents in the world is intensifying. The majority of the planet’s population has not received even the first dose of vaccine, which prevents the control of the pandemic, increases the number of fatal victims and the risk that new variants that escape the protection of immunizing agents will spread throughout all countries.
Bolsonaro disdained Pfizer’s proposals for months before the government agreed to purchase the immunizing agent in March 2021.
The president and his aides, including former health minister and General Eduardo Pazuello, treated the drugmaker’s demands as exaggerated and leonine.
The main complaint was about the demand from Pfizer, also made by Janssen, that the Union should assume all responsibilities and costs of any adverse effects of immunization agents.
Bolsonaro even said, in a jocular tone, that the laboratory would not take the blame if someone became an alligator for receiving the immunizing agent. “If you take and become an alligator, that’s your problem. If you become a superman, if a beard is born in a woman or a man speaks thin, she [Pfizer] it has nothing to do with it,” declared the president.
Resistance by Bolsonaro and by Economy Minister Paulo Guedes also led the government to postpone a change in legislation to unlock the purchase, which was only done after a proposal presented and approved by the National Congress.
Pressured by the advance of the pandemic and by the leading role of the São Paulo governor, João Doria (PSDB), because of Coronavac, Bolsonaro changed his tone and participated in the last meetings with Pfizer, in March, before the government closed the first purchase of doses.
The government has already contracted 200 million doses of the company’s vaccine, for R$ 12 billion. In addition, it paid R$ 24 million in international insurance for any adverse effects of this and Janssen’s immunizing agent. The TCU (Court of Accounts of the Union) investigates the prices involved in the policy, which was negotiated by lawyers without a position in the government.