On Thursaday, France’s junior minister for industryAgnès Pannier-Runaher said that It would be “unacceptable” if certain countries get privileged access to a coronavirus vaccine produced by French drugmakerSanofi.
Her comments came after Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson told Bloomberg on Wednesday that the company would supply the U.S. with its vaccine first because it put more money into its development than Europe.
The company then issued a statement clarifying that only the vaccine manufactured in the U.S. will be “mainly for the U.S.” However, “the rest of the manufacturing capacity will cover Europe and the rest of the world.”
Still, Hudson’s comments have rattled Europeans, and in France, lawmakers have been blasting the firm, which has benefited from tax credits allocated to research for years, as opportunistic.
“I immediately contacted Sanofi, which made a correction,” noted Pannier-Runacher. She added that the head of Sanofi France, Olivier Bogillot, pledged to her that “the vaccine would be accessible to all countries … and in particular to the French.”
Bogillot also repeated that pledge on BFM TV this morning, saying that “it’s obvious that if Sanofi discovers a vaccine, it will be available to everyone.”
Conservative lawmaker Xavier Bertrand called it “unthinkable” that a French-based firm “benefiting from research tax credits would deliver a vaccine to the United States before us.” On Twitter, he asked French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to intervene.