Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla Photograph:( Reuters )
Pfizer is donating these medicines to help make sure that every COVID-19 patient in every public hospital across India can have access to the company's medicines they need free of charge
Pfizer is in discussions with the Indian government seeking an "expedited approval pathway" for its COVID-19 vaccine, its CEO Albert Bourla said on LinkedIn on Monday, announcing a donation of medicines worth more than $70 million.
"We are deeply concerned by the critical COVID-19 situation in India, and our hearts go out to you, your loved ones and all the people of India," he said in a mail sent to Pfizer India employees that he posted on LinkedIn.
Pfizer is committed to being a partner in India's fight against this disease and is quickly working to mobilise the largest humanitarian relief effort in the company's history, he added.
"Right now, Pfizer colleagues at distribution centres in the US, Europe and Asia are hard at work rushing shipments of Pfizer medicines that the Government of India has identified as part of its COVID treatment protocol," Bourla said.
Pfizer is donating these medicines to help make sure that every COVID-19 patient in every public hospital across India can have access to the company's medicines they need free of charge, he added.
"These medicines, valued at more than $70 million, will be made available immediately, and we will work closely with the government and our NGO partners to get them to where they are needed most," Bourla said.
This effort, in combination with Pfizer Foundation funding that supports humanitarian organisations providing essential and life-saving equipment to India, such as ventilators, oxygen concentrators and consumables, is our most comprehensive humanitarian relief response ever, he added.
He also said that the company is aware that access to vaccines is critical to ending this pandemic.
"Unfortunately, our vaccine is not registered in India although our application was submitted months ago. We are currently discussing with the Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make our Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country," Bourla said.
Pfizer stands in solidarity with all those currently affected by COVID-19 in India and around the world and will continue to do everything possible to provide assistance, he added.
"As we work to meet the public health need and to be a partner with the Government of India to establish a path forward for our vaccine, please know you and your loved ones are foremost in our thoughts and prayers," Bourla said.
Earlier in April, Pfizer said that it had offered a not-for-profit price for its vaccine for the government immunisation programme in India.
"Pfizer remains committed to continuing our engagement with the government towards making the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine available for use in the government's immunisation programme in the country," the company had said in April.
(With inputs from agencies)