Since the coronavirus epidemic broke out, the medical research world tries to find a cure as soon as possible. Efforts are mostly based on looking for a vaccine: several countries are in a race against time: each laboratory wants to be the first to commercialize their cure. This harsh race is frightening, one fears inevitable side effects that will accompany the first vaccines put up on the market.
To be protected against this health threat on the horizon, pharmaceutical industries have campaign to the European Union. Their goal: getting financial protection in case there are troubles with the upcoming vaccines.
The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations explains to Le Figaro that the deployment of billions of doses of vaccines in the world means that it is “possible that some people meet medical issues after being vaccinated”. The Federation yet adds these risks are not specific to Covid-19 vaccines, “because all drugs and vaccines can lead to side effects in some people”.
Then, why are they looking to be protected especially now? Coronavirus has changed a lot of customs. To curb the pandemic, vaccine production plans have grown faster. A first cure might be available from the first quarter of 2021. It would set a record time of development for a vaccine, spreading over 12 to 18 months, instead of the usual time that can reach up to a decade. A rapidity of execution that can unfortunately lead to less controlled side effects.
But, do not panic, the Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries says “vaccines will be approved for use only when they are safe and their effectiveness have been shown to the regulatory authorities in Europe”. As for the European Commission, say they that current rules in terms of civil liability of companies will not be altered: laboratories will be held liable for the quality of the products they put on the market.
Yet it seems possible to hedge the rules implemented. Current talks are based on the financial aspect of the issue. European authorities could indemnify the vaccine maker, if the liability of the latter was blamed in case of upcoming damages. “In order to compensate for such high risks taken by manufacturers, the Advanced Purchase Agreements provide for Member States to indemnify the manufacturer for liabilities incurred under certain conditions” the European Commission explains.
To reassure people, the European Medicines Agency reminds they own a post-launching assessment system of vaccines and medicines. Thanks to many data, side effects happening are shared and assessed in order to study the reliability of the vaccine in real time. “As soon as a vaccine is approved for use, EU and European Agency national authorities control side effects in vaccinated people non-stop. It makes sure that all possible risks are detected and handled as fast as possible” the Agency says.