CNBC News Releases

CNBC Exclusive: CNBC Transcript: Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla Speaks with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Today

Share

WHEN: Today, Tuesday, April 27th

WHERE: CNBC's "Squawk Box"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC exclusive interview with Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla on CNBC's "Squawk Box" (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Tuesday, April 27th, as part of NBCUniversal News Group's special event "Inspiring America." Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: https://www.cnbc.com/video/2021/04/27/inspiring-america-pfizer-ceo-on-leading-through-the-pandemic.html.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: We are leading up to the launch of our special event, "Inspiring America," on Saturday night on NBC and on Sunday right here on CNBC. We're highlighting extraordinary people making positive impacts on their communities and this morning we are joined by a very special guest and Meg Tirrell is bringing him to us, Meg.

MEG TIRRELL: Well Andrew, this morning we're joined by the CEO of what is undoubtedly one of the most influential companies of our time right now. Pfizer's vaccine is keeping people safe and helping people get back to normal all around the world. Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer joins us now. Albert, welcome this morning. You know, we'll all never forget that day your vaccine was found to have more than 90% efficacy. It is a day I think a lot of people are marking as a historical one in their lives. And here in the United States, your vaccine is really helping us get back to normal. How are you looking at access around the world to your vaccine, particularly in India where it is just a horrible situation right now.

ALBERT BOURLA: Alright so in India, it is a horrible situation and in other places of the world, the penetration of the vaccinations right now and the availability of vaccines is, is lower and the way I see it is a very big issue problem not only because ethically it's unacceptable but also because in a pandemic you are as protected as your neighbor. So, setting aside the moral issues, if we will not be able to provide solutions for India, if we will not be able to provide solutions for Africa, they will become the pool where the virus will replicate and will generate variants. So, this is something that needs to be addressed.

TIRRELL: Are you seeing work moving at a good pace toward actually addressing that to getting vaccines either yours or others in higher quantities to India and to countries in Africa and others around the world that don't have access and how do you see that system really working? What is the best way to achieve global access when manufacturing is still getting ramped up everywhere?

BOURLA: Absolutely, I think that everybody's making great progress but I can speak about ourselves, as you know when we made this announcement about the vaccine, we're forecasting to build 1 billion doses for this year. But then we did the tremendous, tremendous progress in improving the processes, in building infrastructure with the speed of light, in resolving issues of third-party suppliers. Right now, we're very comfortable that this year will produce 2 and a half billion doses, if not more, but at least 2 and a half billion doses and that, that means on an annualized basis 3 billion doses, that coming from only one company. There's a lot of doses and clearly, they can be used not only in the north part of the hemisphere, but also in the south, not only on the rich but also on the poor. And the second. So, the first one is availability and the second one is to make sure that there is not a price barrier and already from May/June when we started signing our first commercial contract, Pfizer implemented a tier price. So, the high-income countries like the US, Europe, Japan etc. that they're having a tiered pricing of what I call the cost of a meal, which I think is very reasonable and allows every government to procure it, but then the middle-income countries, they have a price which is half of that. And the low-income countries, they are having a price which is at cost. So, with those two I think we are marching towards a situation where the solution can be found.

JOE KERNEN: Albert, in a New York paper, it's the Post, COVID cure may be ready this year from a Pfizer drug it's a, it's a, you know which one I'm talking about PF-07321332 is what it said but it prevents a replication of COVID in the nose and it could be an oral medication and they're calling it a cure, could be ready next year. Is that headline accurate?

BOURLA: Well, it is accurate that we are working on the variant and we're actually on two, one is injectable and the other one as you just said it is an oral. And particularly the attention is on the oral of the world and of us because provides several advantages and one of them is that you don't need to go to the hospital to get the treatment of which is the case with all the injectables so far but you can get it home. That could be a game changer. The compound that we are talking about and you said very well the numbers, it is a protease inhibitor. The good thing is that this is also the first molecule that is coming from this type of class, this is good thing because you can combine it with other classes. Also, the mechanism of action, it is such that it's not expected to be subject to mutations, particularly because it's not acting on the spike, as we all know, all the mutations that we are hearing right now are seeing this in the proteins of the spike. This one doesn't work there so that allows us to believe that will be way more effective against the multiple variants. So, all good news. We are now progressing the studies and we will have more news around summer.

TIRREL: Around the summer. What do you think is a reasonable time frame, Albert, for a small molecule antiviral pill like that to get through Phase 3 and actually get out there and potentially be available if all goes well.

BOURLA: Meg, if all goes well and we implement the same speed that we did so far and we are and if regulators also do the same and they are, I hope by the end of the year.

TIRRELL: Alright really quickly for you because we've got to go but I just have to ask you and a lot of folks wondering about your timing for the vaccine for kids, you've had data and kids ages 12 to 15. When are you expecting an FDA potential decision on that and when could this get out and available for teenagers?

BOURLA: Well as you just said it, it is in the hands of FDA the hands of EMA, the hands of other regulators, they are scrutinizing all the data as they should. I'm very optimistic because I know the data and they were, they were having 100% efficacy and very, very good tolerability and safety profiles so based on that I believe that the FDA and the EMA will move very, very fast. So, it's a question of which.

TIRRELL: And the other question for you here, Albert, in the United States, as we're getting to this point where the folks who really wanted a vaccine have probably at least been able to get their first shot already. How does Pfizer seek to reassure people who might be hesitant about the long term safety of your vaccine that this is something that will help them and will protect them? How do you counter when, when folks ask you how can you be sure, this was tested so fast, what do you tell your friends and relatives who might think that?

BOURLA: Look, I will tell you what is the thing that you should never tell to these people. You should never try to ridicule them or to challenge their judgment because of their decision. They are whole good, decent people and either they have a real fear, or they have been misinformed. So, you can tell a lot of things. What I have noticed is that it's not to me that I'm the best to convince people, it is others that do not have an interest, it is the scientist, it is the journalist, it is the political leaders, it is the leaders of the community, but of course it's also me. And I found that what really resonates with those people, it is when you explain to them that, okay, you may have your doubts, but your decision is not going to influence only your health, your decision to get vaccinated is going to influence the health of others and likely the health of the people that you like and you love the most because they're the people that you interact with. So, think it wise, look at data, look at what happened in Israel, what happens around the world and think twice before you make a decision that will affect people around you.

TIRRELL: Right. Albert Bourla, we appreciate you being here today. Thanks again, we'll see you soon.

BOURLA: Thank you very much.