Roberto Rocha, Pfizer General Manager For The Adriatic Region

No Shortcuts

Pfizer combined its state-of-the-art vaccine development, manufacturing might and distribution networks with BioNTech’s expertise in innovative mRNA technology to develop, manufacture and distribute large quantities of high-quality Covid-19 vaccine in record time

Given the urgency of the pandemic, Pfizer risked more than 2 billion dollars to run clinical development and manufacturing in parallel and at scale. “I am happy to say our collaboration between private and public sectors has been largely successful”, says Rocha.

Serbia was among the world’s first five countries to sign a contract and receive Pfizer vaccines, and was one of the first to begin immunisation. Does this mean that the Serbian Government found a way to accelerate everything on the administrative side?

We knew early on that a safe and effective vaccine would be essential to ending the pandemic. Collaborating closely with regulatory and health authorities around the world, including the EMA in Europe and the government in Serbia, we compressed timelines that typically take years into months, and those that take months into weeks. Conversations between Pfizer and the Serbian government had started by mid-year 2020 and we’re glad to say that since the first interaction, the Serbian government showed full understanding of the gravity of the situation and the need for quick and straight decisions.

Most of industry has spent an entire year struggling with challenges, limitations and tribulations, while pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer have been in a somewhat better position, right?

Given the urgency of the pandemic, Pfizer risked more than 2 billion dollars to run clinical development and manufacturing in parallel and at scale.

Patients and science were at the forefront of our efforts, and we took no shortcuts but worked innovatively to conduct key steps of the process in parallel rather than the usual sequential approach. As a result, we were able to move at the speed of science and make the seemingly impossible happen: delivering in less than a year a breakthrough Covid-19 vaccine that was authorized and recommended in Europe and with authorities globally.

In less than a year we delivered a Covid-19 vaccine that was authorized and recommended in Europe and around the world

Making sure this breakthrough reached patients around the world demanded unprecedented collaboration between the private and public sectors – and I am happy to say this collaboration has been largely successful.

Pfizer is a member of the NALED Healthcare Alliance, which brings together stakeholders from industry and local government. What is the goal of this alliance?

With its engagement in NALED, Pfizer wants to offer its knowledge and expertise in the healthcare environment. We believe that our staff’s broad overview of Serbian healthcare and the pharmaceutical system can make a very efficient and detailed contribution to the Grey book for healthcare.

Can the NALED Grey Book’s recommendations for healthcare support the Serbian government in developing an online system of e-healthcare and optimise the network of healthcare facilities? Is the importance of such reforms best demonstrated under extraordinary circumstances like those of a pandemic?

NALED’s Grey Book holds several recommendations for optimizing healthcare and its administration in Serbia. So-called e-health with more intense digitalization will for sure create future healthcare systems. In Pfizer we are glad to be part of this innovation and to contribute our knowledge, skills and experience for better health outcomes for patients.

Jelena Bojović, Director Of The Centre For The Fourth Industrial Revolution; NALED Programme Development Strategist

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