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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Deals for Covid-19 vaccines should be made openly, says Mahathir

 


The government's dealings with pharmaceutical companies to procure Covid-19 vaccines should be done openly, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The former prime minister said that keeping the vaccine agreements a secret is unacceptable, especially because it involves a huge amount of public funding.

"Everything should be done openly, this is what we have promised.

"These NDAs (non-disclosure agreements), being secretive, are unacceptable.

"We must know everything that happens in the government, (especially) when a lot of government money is being used," he said.

The Langkawi MP was speaking during a press conference held on the sidelines of a pro-tem Pejuang party event in Shah Alam.

Mahathir was answering a question on NDAs imposed by pharmaceutical companies in their deals made with governments around the world who are trying to secure the Covid-19 vaccine for their citizens.

Malaysia has also secured deals with three companies, while being in the final stage of negotiation with three others, to purchase their vaccines. The government is allocating RM3 billion to procure Covid-19 vaccines.

However, Putrajaya has declined to share the terms of the agreements with the public.

Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had on Dec 23 cited the NDA, which prevented him from speaking about the price that Malaysia has to pay to get the vaccines from one of the companies.

"I want to be as transparent as possible. I want to tell Malaysians that I am very happy with the price we got from Pfizer if I can speak about it (the price) now.

"Even based on the so-called leak about the EU price, I'm even happier about the price that we got. That's a huge hint already, I'm close to very close to breaching the non-disclosure agreement (inked between Malaysia and Pfizer)," he said. - Mkini

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