French pharma company Sanofi: 'US first in line for vaccine'

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi vows US will be 'first in line' in receiving coronavirus vaccine, sparking criticism.

Y. Rabinovitz ,

Coronavirus test קורונה
Coronavirus test קורונה

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has become the target of strong criticism after its chief executive announced that the United States would be first in line to receive any Covid-19 vaccine it produces.

According to a report published in The Telegraph, Paul Hudson, Sanofi’s chief, told Bloomberg News that “The US government has the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk … I've been campaigning in Europe to say the US will get vaccines first."

French officials were outraged, many noting that Sanofi has benefited from tens of millions of Euros in research credits from the French government. Both the French Prime Minister and the President have stated their view that equal access should be guaranteed for any vaccine developed.

On Thursday, around 140 former and current world leaders and health experts issued a plea for a coronavirus vaccine to be made available "for all people, in all countries, free of charge,” The Telegraph quotes their letter. "Now is not the time to allow the interests of the wealthiest corporations and governments to be placed before the universal need to save lives."

Sanofi is currently working on two vaccine projects, one with British rival GlaxoSmithKline Plc that is partially funded by the US Health Department, and another with US company Translate Bio using different technology.