Belgian minister 'accidentally' reveals COVID-19 vaccine price list on Twitter

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Dec 19, 2020, 08:09 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

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'These prices are covered by a confidentiality clause in the contract with the European commission,' a spokesperson for a pharmaceutical company said

Belgium’s budget state secretary, Eva De Bleeker, took a bold step by revealing the prices of the coronavirus vaccines that the European Union (EU) has agreed to pay.

Bleeker took to Twitter to share the price list. "The Facts: 33.5 million vaccines will be purchased this year at 279 million € from the 2020 corona provision. 500 million is also available for the 2021 corona provision o. a. vaccines," she tweeted. 

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However, her earlier tweet which had a table of the price list was quickly deleted. But many were successful in taking screenshots of her tweet.

COVID-19 vaccine price list

The list showed prices of different COVID-19 vaccines which Belgium has bought to fight the coronavirus pandemic. When Bleeker made this information public, the pharmaceutical companies voiced their concerns against such a step as they claim this information falls under confidential information which is not supposed to be made public, as per the laws.

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"These prices are covered by a confidentiality clause in the contract with the European commission," said Elisabeth Schraepen, the US drugmaker’s spokeswoman for the Benelux region.

As per the list uploaded, Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is the cheapest and Moderna has been shown to be the most expensive. While this information is not new, the step taken by Bleeker puts the companies in a tough spot as this can now give various countries an upper hand in negotiating the prices.

Meanwhile, the EU has denied passing a comment in this controversy. "We can’t say anything about this case, everything about vaccines and prices are covered by confidentiality clauses, in the interests of society and also in the interests of negotiations ongoing," said a spokesman for the European Commission.

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