The Commission should provide citizens with more information about future vaccine purchases and mandate pharmaceutical companies to be more transparent, say MEPs.

Vaccine manufacturers should publish more medical data, for example clinical trial datasets, and the Commission should give out more information about the EU’s vaccine strategy and purchase agreements, says the Committee on Petitions in a resolution adopted on Thursday with 26 in favour, 1 against and 5 abstaining. MEPs point out that the EU has contributed substantially to vaccine research, development and manufacturing, and it could use its influence to enhance transparency and openness in this area.

New transparency rules needed

The Committee on Petitions argues that COVID-19 vaccine arrangements have not been transparent enough. In the future, the Commission should publicly disclose the members of its contract negotiating team, the price per dose, the cost-sharing arrangements between public and private actors, and the agreed distribution of doses between member states, as well as prospective production sites and liability agreements.                                        Additionally, the pharmaceutical companies should be contractually mandated to disclose in real time data from ongoing assessments, such as pharmacovigilance reports, and information about incidents during trial or vaccine deployment, for example, side effects.            So far, the Parliament has not been able to properly scrutinize vaccine procurement and the use of the EU budget on vaccines, MEPs note. They demand a legislative proposal for joint vaccine procurement including transparency provisions, and ask that the Parliament–Commission COVID-19 Contact Group receives up-to-date information about developments and becomes involved in signing contracts.                                                                        The Petitions Committee MEPs also support increased investment in the COVAX scheme, technology transfers and essential component exports to developing countries to boost global vaccine production. They encourage companies to share their knowledge and data through the World Health Organisation’s Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) and through local partnerships.

Rapporteur Dolors Montserrat (EPP, ES), said : “We, in the European Parliament, must continue to defend solidarity as one of our defining values, and proof of this is our participation in the COVAX mechanism for exporting vaccines to third countries. We must also back up voluntary and compulsory licensing agreements, so that we support these developing countries in the transfer of knowledge and technology, so that they reach the capacity to produce vaccines. That is why I welcome the adoption of this resolution. We will beat Covid, but other pandemics will come, and we must be prepared with the best research and the necessary health and pharmaceutical development”.

The resolution will be tabled for the July plenary session of the European Parliament.