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Pfizer to bypass gov't, use its own network to ship COVID-19 vaccine

By Don Jacobson
Pfizer to bypass gov't, use its own network to ship COVID-19 vaccine
A company executive says Pfizer is instead developing its own plan, in coordination with the CDC. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. drugmaker Pfizer will use its own distribution network for its COVID-19 vaccine rather than a going through the U.S. government's designated coordinator, a company official has said.

The pharma company will seek to ensure "end-to-end visibility and control" in its distribution of millions of doses of its vaccine, once it's approved for use in the United States, according to Pfizer Vice President for Biopharma Global Supply Chain Tanya Alcorn.

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Alcorn said rather than tap healthcare logistics provider McKesson, as recommended by federal regulators, the serious challenges involved in doling out a vaccine requires Pfizer to keep tight control of distribution.

She made the comments during a webinar with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce webinar.

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"We value McKesson... but early on we set up a distribution model where we would ship direct from our U.S. manufacturing facility and our U.S. distribution center direct to the points of use," Alcorn added.

Under the government's Operation Warp Speed, drugmakers are expected to deliver vaccines to McKesson centers, which in turn will coordinate distribution to hospitals and other vaccination points.

Alcorn said Pfizer is instead developing its own plan, in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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"We're working with trusted [logistics] partners," she said. "That will allow us to have end-to-end visibility and control."

Pfizer said last week its late-stage human clinical trial for its BNT162 vaccine is close to full enrollment, with more than 42,000 participants. It has partnered with German drugmaker BioNTech to develop the vaccine, which is one of several in development worldwide.

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