Health: US to Export AstraZeneca

The Story:

The US federal government has roughly 80 million doses of the AstraZeneva anti-Covid vaccine in stock, awaiting FDA approval. But the three drugs that have been approved seem adequate to support US need. So: what will the Biden administration do with all of its AstraZeneca, once FDA approval arrives?


The administration has decided that it will export this inventory. The US’ neighbors, Canada and Mexico, have both indicated that they would be willing to import it.

Beyond that, there is India: the scene of a vast and from a distance an almost unfathomable disaster in recent weeks. Biden has reportedly promised India’s government “a range of emergency assistance, including oxygen-related supplies, vaccine materials, and therapeutics.” Those “vaccine materials” will include AstraZeneca.

The crisis has also shone a harsh light on the issue of intellectual property in pharmaceuticals.

In Pill Form:

India is itself a major drug manufacturing and exporting powerhouse. In the month of November 2020 alone it exported pharmaceuticals worth $15.86 billion. But in the chaos of the Covid era, its export capacity has not translated well into the ability to come up with the drug at home when needed. The exported AstraZeneca will be very welcome.

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