A letter was sent by the Pfizer CEO on December 2 saying that he refuses to testify before the EU COVID Panel as he has no further information to share with the Committee.
Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, has once again declined to appear before the COVID special committee of the European Parliament.
That’s strike two.
“Since the October COVID hearing, we have no further information to share with the Committee, so respectfully decline the invitation to again revisit these issues,” states the letter from Bourla dated December 2.
Bourla earlier cancelled a scheduled hearing before the committee in October, where he was expected to face challenging questions about how clandestine vaccination sales were made. That choice was made in response to an audit study into the EU’s vaccine procurement policy that raised new concerns regarding communications between the CEO of the pharmaceutical company and Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, prior to a multibillion-euro vaccination deal.
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The European Public Prosecutor’s Office acknowledged on October 14 that it was looking into the EU’s purchases of COVID vaccines, but it hasn’t yet said who is being looked into or whose vaccine contracts are being examined.
In response to numerous inquiries from the committee on Bourla’s absence at the October 10 COVI hearing, the company’s president of international developed markets, Janine Small, was even asked a question that was taped to some MEPs’ laptops. A question from Dutch MEP Robert Roos (ECR group) concerning whether the vaccine was assessed for its capacity to prevent transmission before accessing the market was among those she answered regarding vaccine contract negotiations and the shots themselves. Small’s response to that query earned Roos a spot on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News talk show.
But in the end, it appears that Small was simply unable to replace Bourla.
The COVID committee sent the CEO a second invitation on October 28.
“Our committee felt that during the previous hearing with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, where Pfizer was represented by Mrs. Janine Small, important questions regarding the advanced purchase agreements between the European Union and Pfizer, which fall under the responsibility of the CEO and of which only he has the authority to respond to them, remained unanswered,” COVID committee chair Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D group) said in a statement today.
“As chair of the COVI committee, I deeply regret Dr. Bourla’s refusal to discuss this matter with the Members of the European Parliament,” she said. “As a co-legislator of the European budget, the Parliament has the right to obtain full transparency on the modalities of these expenditures and the preliminary negotiations leading up to them.”
However, it appears that Pfizer has nothing new to report.
“Pfizer has provided input to the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the wider European Parliament, as it seeks to understand and learn from the pandemic response,” said a company spokesperson.