European governments will pay claims above an agreed limit against AstraZeneca over side-effects from its potential COVID-19 vaccine, under different terms to a deal struck with Sanofi, an EU official told Reuters.
The deals reflect different strategies by two of the world’s top drugmakers for protecting themselves as a debate rages about liabilities for vaccines aimed at ending the pandemic.
AstraZeneca has secured the European Union’s backing in a confidential agreement which reflects the lower price sought by the British drugmaker, the official said.
“If a company asks for a higher price we don’t give the same conditions,” said the official, who was involved in the talks but declined to be identified as the contracts are confidential.
Unexpected side-effects after a drug has regulatory approval are rare, but the speed at which a COVID-19 vaccine is being pursued increases the risks of unforeseen conditions.
The deal with AstraZeneca, which shifts some of the risks involved in the roll-out of a vaccine to taxpayers, was struck in August and its liability clauses have not previously been reported.