COVID-19 vaccine must serve 'global public good': French authorities
The French authorities stressed on Thursday that the COVID-19 vaccine must be a "global public good" and it is unacceptable for French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi to serve the United States first if it can deliver such a vaccine in the future.
Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson was quoted by US media as saying on Wednesday that "the US government has the right to the largest pre-order because it's invested in taking the risk."
An official at the Elysee told French media: "The declaration of Sanofi boss has upset the President of the Republic because this vaccine must be a global public good...The vaccine should be available to everyone at the same time."
"A vaccine against COVID-19 should be a public good for the world. The equal access of all to the virus (vaccine) is non-negotiable," French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe wrote on Tweeter.
He added that Sanofi's chairman Serge Weinberg had given him "all the necessary assurances" with regard to the distribution in France of any potential Sanofi vaccine.
Sanofi is among dozens of drug companies that are currently working on vaccine projects against COVID-19. One of its projects involves a partnership with Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a US Department of Health and Human Services office for preparedness and response.
Olivier Bogillot, head of Sanofi's French division, told BFM television that "the goal is to have this vaccine available to the US as well as France and Europe at the same time."
However, he said the Americans are efficient at the moment in investing in vaccine research and that "the European Union has to be more efficient to help us in making this vaccine available very quickly."
Sanofi representatives will meet presidential officials next week at the Elysee Palace to discuss the issue, local media reported.