Pfizer CEO says company ‘didn’t conspire with anyone’ after Trump accused the ‘medical deep state’ of delaying releasing vaccine trial results until after the election
- Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla spoke out in a New York Times conference on Tuesday
- Said company ‘didn’t conspire with anyone’ to delay releasing efficacy results
- Pfizer’s trial results were released two days after Biden was declared winner
- The company had previously said the results would be known by October
- Bourla also drew scrutiny for selling 60% of his Pfizer shares on the same day
- The trade was pre-arranged under a plan Bourla adopted in August
The CEO of drugmaker Pfizer has claimed the company ‘didn’t conspire with anyone’ to delay releasing efficacy results for its COVID-19 vaccine until after the U.S. presidential election.
‘We didn’t conspire with anyone, of course. The election was an artificial line. It may have been important to the president, but it wasn’t for us,’ CEO Albert Bourla said at a conference on Tuesday.
Pfizer drew scrutiny after announcing trial results showing its vaccine is 90 percent effective on November 9, two days after Joe Biden was declared winner of the election, despite previously insisting the results would be known by the end of October.
President Donald Trump raged at the discrepancy, accusing the Food and Drug Administration of imposing restrictions to delay the results of the trial.
‘We didn’t conspire with anyone, of course. The election was an artificial line. It may have been important to the president, but it wasn’t for us,’ Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said at a conference on Tuesday
President Donald Trump raged that the ‘medical deep state’ had conspired and lost him the election, pointing to Pfizer’s news about a vaccine breakthrough, which came six days after voters went to the polls
‘As I have long said, @Pfizer and the others would only announce a Vaccine after the Election, because they didn’t have the courage to do it before,’ he tweeted after the results were published. ‘Likewise, the @US_FDA should have announced it earlier, not for political purposes, but for saving lives!’
PFIZER VACCINE TIMELINE
SEPTEMBER 13: Pfizer CEO Anthony Bourla says they will know if the vaccine is effective by the end of October
OCTOBER 16: In an open letter, Bourla promises again to know if the vaccine is effective by the end of October
He said the company wouldn’t know if all three components – efficacy, safety and manufacturing – were up to par until the third week of November
OCTOBER 30-NOVEMBER 8: No update on efficacy of the vaccine
NOVEMBER 3: Presidential election
NOVEMBER 7: The election is called for Joe Biden
NOVEMBER 9: Pfizer announces results of efficacy study, says they expanded perimeters of it after consulting the FDA but doesn’t say when or why
‘The @US_FDA and the Democrats didn’t want to have me get a Vaccine WIN, prior to the election, so instead it came out five days later – As I’ve said all along!’ Trump added.
Bourla also came under scrutiny after it was revealed that he sold 60 percent of his Pfizer shares on the same day that the trial results were announced.
It was part of a pre-arranged trade that he set up in August, but the timing of the vaccine trial announcement allowed him to cash in on the surge in Pfizer’s share price.
On Tuesday, speaking at the New York Times’ DealBook conference, Bourla said that he didn’t take U.S. taxpayer dollars for the vaccine’s research and development in order to avoid politics that might be attached to the effort.
‘When you want to go from the middle of next year to the middle of October, you need to remove any bureaucracy,’ he said. ‘And I knew this would become very political.’
He did acknowledge that the U.S. government had committed to buying $2 billion worth of vaccine doses under Operation Warp Speed, but said that Pfizer had rejected any government funding in the research phase.
Pfizer’s vaccine was developed with German partner BioNTech SE. Bourla said the company is currently preparing that data for submission to the FDA.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is slightly ahead of one from Moderna.
Vials of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine candidate are sorted at a Pfizer facility in Puurs, Belgium in an undated still image from video
A technician inspects vials of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine candidate BNT162b2 at a Pfizer manufacturing site in manufacturing site in St. Louis, Missouri
Moderna announced Monday that its own candidate was 94.5 percent effective.
Moderna expects to get the safety data it needs by the end of the month, allowing it to file for emergency clearance in the coming weeks.
Bourla also said Pfizer has already hit the required safety milestone for the vaccine’s phase 3 trial, which is two months of data from around half of the study’s roughly 44,000 participants.
However, he said that there were still important questions about the vaccine that remain to be answered, such as how long it protects against the virus.
‘When it comes to how durable the protection could be, this is something we don’t know yet,’ he said.