Merck Boss Warns: “USA Could Easily React to an EU Vaccine Export Ban”

In the dispute over vaccine exports from the EU, the Federal Government of Brussels is now jumping in. Merck CEO Stefan Oschmann is following the dispute with great concern and warns of a “vaccine war”

In the dispute over export bans on coronavirus vaccines, the federal government basically supports the EU Commission’s position. The member states would have to receive the contractually guaranteed vaccination doses, said a government spokeswoman on Monday. Recently, 34 million cans were exported from the EU to 30 countries. By contrast, “almost nothing” was delivered to other countries by the USA and Great Britain. That is why it is right to revise the EU export directive. Chancellor Angela Merkel (66) spoke about the issue on Sunday with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (56).

A Johnson spokesman warned the EU again on Monday of export restrictions. There is a dispute over the supply of vaccines between the EU on the one hand and Great Britain in particular on the other. The head of the Darmstadt-based pharmaceutical and chemical company Merck, Stefan Oschmann (63), described the dispute over possible export restrictions for vaccines from the EU as a “very dangerous development” and warned in the “Handelsblatt”: “A vaccine war will harm everyone.”

The dispute is mainly about cans of the British-Swedish group Astrazeneca, which were manufactured within the EU. The topic should also be addressed at the upcoming EU summit on Thursday and Friday.

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The European Union has so far allowed the export of corona vaccines, although there is a shortage in the EU. It can hardly be explained to the citizens, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen (62) recently said and threatened with further export restrictions, especially against Astrazeneca and Great Britain. Von der Leyen had also brought new export requirements into play and also questioned exports to countries in which a higher proportion of the population is vaccinated than in the EU – that would also be the USA.

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Merck boss warns of vaccine war and export bans
Oschmann defended the fact that the United States stores millions of Astrazeneca vaccine doses even though the US FDA has not yet approved it: “With a view to the expected market launch for such a product, that is quite rational.” Among other things, Merck produces disposable reactors and filters for biotech and vaccine production, mainly in the USA. “If the EU now starts to impose export bans to the USA, the US government could easily react and paralyze many things in the European pharmaceutical and biotech industry,” fears the Merck boss.

The Association of Researching Drug Manufacturers (vfa) also warned of export bans. For a corona vaccine you need hundreds of components and tools, which are delivered from all over the world and exchanged in preparatory stages between different countries. If more and more countries resort to unilateral export bans, the entire logistics chain will eventually stumble. “Neither Germany nor the EU can put up with that, although they are strong production locations,” warns the association.

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