The head of the Chamber of Deputies, Sergio Massa, look in Washington for an outlet to unlock the donation of millions of vaccines that the United States offers to the world and that they cannot reach Argentina due to legal obstacles. To do this, Massa explores an instrument of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that offers countries a kind of “Indemnity insurance” which could thus expedite the contracts of US laboratories in our country such as Pfizer.
The Joe Biden government announced weeks ago that the United States would donate 6 million doses to Latin America (out of a total of 25 million) and that Argentina and Brazil, among other countries in the region, are on the elect list. The White House has not yet announced the amount that it will distribute to each nation through the Covax mechanism, although it is estimated that such communication will be imminent.
Massa is the highest level leader of the Alberto Fernández government who has so far arrived in Washington. He landed here on Sunday with the mission of oiling bilateral relations, obtaining political support for negotiations with the IMF and seeking to expedite the donation of vaccines that would befall Argentina, among the most important issues.
For Argentina, the issue of the delivery of vaccines can have complications because beyond the Biden government’s vocation to donate them, the Government has not signed a contract with Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, the three brands that the US has. It is offering. The last two were not even approved by ANMAT.
As is known, Pfizer has had serious difficulties in negotiating a legal document because Argentina wanted to include negligence as an exception to the compensation requested by the laboratories. It doesn’t seem like it was going to be fixed. But this IDB instrument could be a way out.
Consulted by Clarion On the subject, Massa was somewhat enigmatic, but he did not deny it: “On the subject of vaccines, intelligence must be used so that the difficulties that a vaccine provider may feel in the regulatory framework are resolved thanks to those we have the responsibility to do. But I have no doubt that we are on the right track “, He said.
But Clarion He learned that the dialogue on the subject is directed with IDB officials in an underground way because the Government of Alberto Fernández does not have great harmony with the president of the organization, Mauricio Claver Carone, who last year drowned the aspirations of the Argentine candidate Gustavo Béliz to the head of the multilateral.
But Claver Carone is a pragmatist and needs to show results in his presidency, in addition to rebuild the relationship with Argentina for eventual support in the recapitalization of the organization.
Before a consultation of Clarion, from the IDB They confirmed that the instrument is already available and that there is interest from several countries to adopt it. They indicated that they do not want to reveal who the requesting nations are so as “not to affect the ongoing negotiation.”
The instrument Argentina is looking for, which is like a “insurance policy”, Carone himself had publicly announced in a virtual press conference, in March, where he explained that one of the reasons for the delay in vaccination in less wealthy countries is the conditions that laboratories ask for to sign contracts.
“We realized that the pharmaceutical companies were asking for indemnity clauses in the negotiations, to which many other things were later added, such as the creation of trusts to guarantee any liability problems, and now we see that they are even asking new regulatory frameworksClaver said then.
“What we are announcing today,” he continued, “is a financial instrument that will serve as a guarantee for the terms and conditions in which the vaccines are delivered, in the event of any contingency. The IDB is the first international financial institution to create a product of this type ”.
“It is like an insurance policy, both for countries and for pharmaceutical companies, which are asking for certain liability provisions. As this is difficult for the states due to their legal frameworks or because they have never done it, what we offer is an instrument that provides that guarantee in case the liability clauses are activated ”, he explained.
It is not yet known how many doses will touch Argentina in the United States, but in Massa’s delegation they are enthusiastic that it may be “more than a million.” They will not be delivered immediately and it is estimated that they will be available from August at the earliest. But, in the meantime, legal obstacles can be resolved so as not to lose the opportunity of the most precious asset at this time.