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The EU price list for COVID-19 vaccines was leaked. Will Canada release its prices?

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The office of Canada’s minister in charge of procuring its stockpile of the coronavirus vaccine said they won’t yet be sharing the prices they’re paying per dose after reports that the European Union’s vaccine price list was inadvertently leaked Friday.

According to the office of Procurement Minister Anita Anand, the federal government is going to be “cautious” in disclosing contractual information due to the market for coronavirus vaccines remaining “highly competitive.”

Read more: Thousands of Canadians have recovered from COVID-19. Do they need the vaccine?

The statement comes amid complaints of a breach of confidentiality from drugmakers developing the vaccine after Belgian secretary of state for budget Eva De Bleeker tweeted a list of the country’s number of vaccines and the price they were paying per dose.

The tweet was later deleted, though several parties, including the drug developers themselves, were able to catch wind of De Bleeker’s blunder.

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According to the published price list, the Belgian government paid €12, or US$14.7 per dose to purchase just over five million shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

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Prices subsequently ranged from the cheapest of €1.78 for AstraZeneca’s vaccine to Moderna’s which is the most expensive and priced at US$18.

 

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According to Reuters and The Guardian, a Pfizer spokesperson told Belgian newspaper Le Soir that De Bleeker’s publication of the company’s vaccine price was a breach in confidentiality.

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“These prices are covered by a confidentiality clause in the contract with the European Commission,” said Elisabeth Schraepen, a Pfizer spokesperson for the Benelux region of Belgium.

None of the drug companies listed in De Bleeker’s leak — AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Curevac and Moderna — have responded to Global News’ request for comment.

Read more: Johnson & Johnson expects to release late-stage coronavirus vaccine data in January

The details of vaccine prices may allow countries that have not yet procured vaccines or are still negotiating with drugmakers to take a harder approach in securing their doses, however.

According to Anand’s office, there remains a “very competitive environment around the world, everywhere” for procuring the vaccine.

“Every country wants to have the same products, the same doses, and so we have to negotiate very hard for Canada to have more doses as soon as possible and that’s the job for me and my team every day,” read a statement from her office obtained by Global News Friday.

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Though the federal government has not released any sort of individual pricing per dose for the vaccines it has secured to date, the country has already invested over $1 billion into procuring a supply of about 429 million doses spread across seven vaccine candidates.

The leak also comes on the heels of Canada receiving its first shipment of 30,000 doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine earlier this week — which provincial health authorities have already begun to administer to priority groups across the country.

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Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also confirmed that Canada was set to receive 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of January. In a separate press conference Friday, Anand also announced that four million doses of the same vaccine would arrive by the end of March — enough to vaccinate two million Canadians.

The first shipments of the Moderna vaccine are also expected to arrive by the end of December, though dependent on regulatory approval from Health Canada.

With files from Reuters