Pharma companies plan joint pledge on vaccine safety

A group of drug companies competing with one another to be among the first to develop coronavirus vaccines are reportedly planning to pledge that they will not release any vaccines that do not follow rigorous efficacy and safety standards.

A group of drug companies competing with one another to be among the first to develop coronavirus vaccines are reportedly planning to pledge that they will not release any vaccines that do not follow rigorous efficacy and safety standards. The statement is meant to reassure the public that the companies will not seek a premature approval of vaccines under political pressure from the Trump administration. President Trump has pushed for a vaccine to be available by October and a growing number of scientists, regulators, and public health experts have expressed concern that such pressure will contribute to distrust in the public health system that could actually lead people to not feel confident about a vaccine. The manufacturers that are said to have signed the letter include Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, and Sanofi. Senior regulators at FDA reportedly have also been discussing making their own joint public statement about the need to rely on proven science. Scientists have been rushing at record speed to develop a vaccine that could end the pandemic, with three companies—Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca—testing their candidates in late-stage clinical trials. Public health experts have applauded the companies’ rapid development of a vaccine, and early results have been promising, but have grown worried in recent weeks as Trump and his allies have begun talking about a vaccine that could be ready before the November 3 election.