Trump Administration Not Yet Going All-in on Pfizer Vaccine

The race to produce a bonafide, FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine has been a tightly contested race between drugmakers across the world who all want to be the first to market.

The competition has been great, as it’s led to an approved vaccine in a matter of 10 months, rather than the usual 5-10 years it would otherwise take to develop, test and approve a vaccine. Maybe that’s why so many people are wary about lining up for the vaccine. But that’s for another day.

While being the first to market comes with its own accolades, the real victory goes to the companies who are able to win the most, and the biggest contracts from countries needing to provide vaccines for millions of citizens.

This is where investors who have hopped into these new, popular, pandemic “epicenter” stocks need to take notice because it appears the Trump administration isn’t playing favorites.

This morning, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a member of Pfizer’s (PFE) board and former FDA head under the Trump administration from 2017 to 2019, told CNBC day the company’s offers to provide the U.S. additional doses of its coronavirus vaccine in 2021 was declined by the Trump administration:

“Pfizer did offer up an additional allotment coming out of that plant, basically the second-quarter allotment, to the United States government multiple times and as recently as after the interim data came out and we knew this vaccine looked to be effective.”

Back in July Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech (BTNX) secured a deal with the U.S. government for 100 million doses of their vaccine, pending approval from the FDA which will meet Thursday to review the companies’ emergency use application. The consensus is that the companies will have no issues meeting the FDA’s criteria.

Meanwhile, Gottlieb, tells The New York Times, he believes the U.S. government likely turned down Pfizer’s offer for more doses because it wanted to diversify the companies it agreed to purchase option agreements from:

“I think they’re betting that more than one vaccine is going to get authorized and there will be more vaccines on the market,” Gottlieb said. “And that, perhaps, could be why they didn’t take up that additional 100 million option agreement, which wouldn’t really have required them necessarily to front money. It was just an agreement that they would purchase those vaccines. So Pfizer has gone ahead and entered into some agreements with other countries to sell them some of that vaccine in the second quarter of 2021.”

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