Members of the European Parliament endeavoring to uncover crucial details of the EU's deal with Pfizer for its COVID vaccine product faced a disappointing setback last week as Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla pulled out of his appointment to testify before the Parliament's special committee on COVID-19.
The special committee was formed in March, 2022, and was tasked with looking into the EU's pandemic response. In September, the European Court of Auditors published a report accusing the European Commission of refusing to reveal the details of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's negotiations with Pfizer, including minutes, names of experts consulted, agreed terms, or any other evidence. Furthermore, most EU parliamentarians, including COVID committee members, have no idea how much the EU paid Pfizer for the shots and no way of finding out.
Focus on von der Leyen heightened with a report in the New York Times that noted the close and unusual contacts between her and Bourla, which contrasted with usual procedure which involved a team of officials meeting with pharmaceutical representatives.
Following the publication of the report, it was clear that Bourla would face a grilling by committee members on the secretive vaccine deals that culminated in a multibillion-Euro vaccine contract -- now Bourla has canceled his October 10 appointment with the committee.
By contrast, officials from Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Sanofi have addressed the committee.
The committee's chair, Belgian MEP Kathleen Van Brempt, told POLITICO she "deeply regrets" the decision taken by Pfizer.