July 30 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca has been granted protection from future product liability claims related to its COVID-19 vaccine hopeful by most of the countries it has so far struck supply agreements with, a senior executive told Reuters.
With 25 companies testing their vaccine candidates on humans and getting ready to immunize hundred millions of people once the products are shown to work, the question of who pays for any claims for damages in case of side effects has been a sticky point in supply negotiations.
“This is a unique situation where we as a company simply cannot take the risk if in ... four years the vaccine is showing side effects,” Ruud Dobber, a member of Astra’s senior executive team, told Reuters.
“In the contracts we have in place, we are asking for indemnification. For most countries it is acceptable to take that risk on their shoulders because it is in their national interest,” he said, adding that Astra and regulators were making safety and tolerability a top priority.
Dobber would not name the countries.
Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Pushkala Aripaka; Editing by Edmund Blair