- AstraZeneca has pledged to make no profits from its COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic - but that pledge could expire as early as June 2021, according to an agreement with a manufacturer.
- An agreement between the drugmaker and a Brazilian company defines the "Pandemic Period" as ending on July 1, 2021, the Financial Times reported.
- This date could be extended if AstraZeneca, "acting in good faith," believes the pandemic is ongoing.
- The British company said it would "seek expert guidance, including from global organizations, as to when we can say that the pandemic is behind us."
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British drugmaker AstraZeneca promised in June not to make any profit from its COVID-19 vaccine "during the pandemic" - but the company could declare the pandemic over by July 2021, according to a manufacturer agreement.
The pharmaceutical company, one of the front-runners in the race for a vaccine, said in June that it would provide doses of its vaccine at cost price until the pandemic finishes.
In a manufacturer agreement with a Brazilian company, seen by the Financial Times, AstraZeneca defines the "Pandemic Period" as ending on July 1, 2021.
This can be extended if "AstraZeneca acting in good faith considers that the SARS-COV-2 pandemic is not over," the memorandum of understanding said.
The document related to a deal between AstraZeneca, which is developing its vaccine with the University of Oxford, and Fiocruz, in which the Brazilian firm agreed to produce at least 100 million vaccine doses, worth more than $300 million.
Other drug makers such as GSK and Johnson & Johnson have agreed to not make any profits from the vaccines they develop.
"From the outset, AstraZeneca's approach has been to treat the development of the vaccine as a response to a global public health emergency, not a commercial opportunity," the company said in a statement, per the FT.
"We continue to operate in that public spirit and we will seek expert guidance, including from global organisations, as to when we can say that the pandemic is behind us."
AstraZeneca has secured deals in various countries to supply its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, one of the most advanced vaccine candidates in the world. In May, the US government pledged up to $1.2 billion to secure nearly a third of the first 1 billion doses.
AstraZeneca did not immediately respond to a request for comment.