AstraZeneca, frequently in the news because of its Covid-19 vaccine, is more commonly known for its oncology medicines. The pharmaceutical industry is heavily regulated and interviewing a corporate officer obviously is walking on your toes. TrustTalk podcast host Severin de Wit had an interview on April 26, in the middle of the second virus wave, with Ad Antonisse, Director Market Access and Government Affairs at AstraZeneca. In the interview, he explains the legally enforced, limited role of the company in providing information to the general public about the vaccine they produce, even in times when the company is in the crosshairs of public scrutiny, the role of its partner, Oxford University and pricing of medicines. He also reflects on the societal pressure to open up its patents to third parties to produce the vaccine, the commitment of AstraZeneca to establish trust by producing the vaccine not-for-profit during the pandemic, about Raghuram Rajan’s criticism of pharmaceutical companies in his book “The Third Pillar“. Asked about growing mistrust of large companies and the “Bridge Project” of Dutch Employers Organisation VNO/NCW he points out that AstraZeneca is open and transparent about its health technology assessment and cost-benefit analysis towards government and regulators.
Producing a vaccine a little more than a year after the breakout of the pandemic is a remarkable achievement of science.
(The interview took place on April 26, in the middle of the second coronavirus wave)