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Russia to share legal risks of newly developed vaccine

With the global vaccine race hotting up, and dozens of candidates being tested on humans, backers of Russia’s ‘Sputnik-V’ shot see liability as a key battleground as they aim to capture market share.
22.09.2020 - 14:09

Russia is so confident in its coronavirus vaccine that it will shoulder some of the legal liability should anything go wrong, rather than requiring buyers to take on the full risk, the head of the state fund bankrolling the project told Reuters.

"WE ARE CONFIDENT IN THE LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES"

The decision leaves the vaccine’s state-backed developers open to potentially costly compensation claims should there be any unexpected side-effects. It is something many vaccine-makers have sought to avoid, by asking for full indemnity - complete protection from liability claims - from nations they sell to.

“Russia is so confident in its vaccine that it has not asked for full indemnity and this is a major differentiating factor versus any Western vaccine,” said Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the state sovereign wealth fund that is backing the vaccine. “All of them are asking for full indemnity of legal risks.”


Vaccine developers around the world are compressing years of development into months, raising the possibility of unexpected consequences and making the issue of compensation claims a key point in supply deal negotiations.

Sputnik-V was developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, a state research body. The RDIF, which is marketing the vaccine abroad, will shoulder some of the legal risks in supply contracts along with pharmaceutical firms in the fund’s portfolio which are producing the shot.

We are confident in the long-term consequences,” Dmitriev said. “We are putting our money where our mouth is by not asking for full indemnity in partnerships we create in different countries.”