Europe's COVID-19 vaccine negotiations hit snags with 3 drugmakers: Reuters

Numerous drugmakers are racing ahead with COVID-19 vaccine programs, and some have begun taking orders from governments to deliver hundreds of millions of doses if their candidates succeed. But negotiations between the EU and some companies have hit snags, Reuters reports.

The EU is negotiating with at least six COVID-19 vaccine developers, but sources told the news service the talks haven’t yet yielded deals for various reasons. Johnson & Johnson's negotiations are at the “most advanced” stage, according to the report, but the sides are still discussing liability for unforeseen side effects.

Sanofi, in discussions to supply 300 million doses, wants an upfront payment, while the EU would prefer to pay in tranches, according to the report.  

And Pfizer, on the heels of its $1.95 billion deal with the U.S., is in discussions with the EU over 500 million doses if the vaccine succeeds in testing. The company would only take payment if the vaccine works, but the EU is concerned about the potential price, sources told Reuters.

The companies declined to comment to the news service. The EU wants to ink three or four supply agreements, Reuters reports.

RELATED: Pfizer could earn $15B-plus in COVID-19 vaccine sales: analyst

Four European countries have already inked a deal with AstraZeneca for 300 million doses, and officials are nearing a deal to expand the pact to all 27 countries in the bloc, according to Reuters’ report.

The news comes as COVID-19 vaccine front-runners launch or prepare to launch their late-stage tests. Officials have said efficacy data could be available later this year, and vaccinations through emergency or full approvals could start by the end of the year or early 2021.