Fosun Pharma

Fosun Pharma to supply COVID – 19 vaccine to Taiwan

Fosun Pharma expresses willingness to supply BioNTech’s COVID – 19 vaccine to Taiwan :

Fosun Pharma, a Chinese Pharma company, has the right to distribute BioNTech’s COVID – 19 vaccine in “Greater China”. This drug firm has recently stated that it is willing to supply the vaccine to Taiwan. This statement was made after Taiwan suggested that Beijing had blocked it from securing the shot from BioNTech.

The chairman of Fosun International Ltd.[1] claimed that the company is ready to supply the best vaccine to the Greater China region, including Taiwan. He further added that this was the company’s responsibility and duty and hopes to fulfill it soon.

The current dispute with the vaccine has led to rising tensions between China and Taiwan. It must be mentioned that Beijing claims Taiwan to be a part of its territory, however, the latter has a government of its own. This has helped Taiwan to occasionally forge deals with foreign pharmaceutical developers.

Per the agreement with Guo’s Shanghai Fosun Pharma, BioNTech has given the right to distribute its vaccine in certain regions. The regions mentioned in this agreement are mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.


Taiwan’s stance

Taiwan has already signed a supply deal with BioNTech for 5 million doses in January 2021. However, the Health Minister of Taiwan on 17 February 2021, stated that “things had changed”. He added that the chances of securing the shots were reduced due to some “political pressure”. Although there was no direct insinuation of China, he added the term “external forces”.

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center has also contacted all vaccine providers including BioNTech directly. It stated that BioNTech had not asked it to contact Fosun over the vaccine supply. BioNTech has, however, not commented on this matter.

The Health Minister has also made a statement in the first week of April 2021 regarding this matter. He stated that there is a diminished chance of securing a successful agreement and attributed this to “political pressure”.

Beijing has also responded to this and asked Taiwan’s government to not hype political issues over the vaccine issues. It has vehemently denied the suggestion which stated that it had blocked Taiwan’s vaccine purchases.

Other pharma deals

Chinese companies with a presence in Taiwan most often secure pharmaceutical deals covering Greater China and Taiwan. This is not an uncommon practice.

Zai Lab Ltd. had licensed chemotherapy drugs and drugs for autoimmune disease from two US – based companies. This company received the rights to distribute in the Greater China region, including Taiwan from Cullinan Technology and Argenx.

CStone Pharma has also licensed drugs for cancer from Blueprint Medicines Corp and Agios Pharma for regions including Taiwan.

Disputes over vaccine supply

The current confusion over the vaccine supply to Taiwan by Fosun is due to the uncertainty in Fosun’s vaccine distribution. The rollout of this vaccine in Hong Kong has been temporarily suspended due to packaging defects in some batches. Mainland China, however, is aggressively rolling out its indigenously produced vaccine. This region is also yet to approve the BioNTech vaccine for use. The approval of this vaccine is expected to be done soon, but the time period for this is unknown.

Hong Kong’s government has also added that it plans to resume the vaccine shots by this week. This action is being undertaken as a probe revealed that the BioNTech’s vaccine has no safety issues.

Fosun plans to expand its collaboration with the German company and stated that the current vaccine deal is very important to it. It is also actively looking for other partners around the globe for collaboration.

Over 4 billion yuan ( $ 609 million ) has been spent by the company for R&D[2] in 2020. The investment in 2021 is expected to be more than this. The Indian unit of this company, Gland Pharma Ltd. has also signed a deal in March 2021. This was to supply around 252 million shots of Sputnik V vaccine to Russia.

Pfizer and BioNTech have also raised their vaccine production target for 2021 by a quarter. The companies plan to produce over 2.5 billion doses in 2021.

Abbreviation :

  • 1. Limited
  • 2. Research and Development
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