European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, second right, speaks with German scientist, CMO and co-founder of BioNTech Ozlem Tureci, right, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, left, and Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, second left, during an official visit to the Pfizer (John Thys, Pool via AP)

Pfiz­er ex­ec de­nies vac­cine ne­go­ti­a­tions via text mes­sage in grilling be­fore Eu­ro­pean Par­lia­ment

Amid what one mem­ber of the Eu­ro­pean Par­lia­ment called “SMS-gate,” a Pfiz­er ex­ec­u­tive on Mon­day de­nied that the com­pa­ny’s vac­cine deal with the bloc could have been ne­go­ti­at­ed via text mes­sage.

The news comes months af­ter the Eu­ro­pean Om­buds­man con­demned the Com­mis­sion’s han­dling of re­quests for text mes­sages be­tween pres­i­dent Ur­su­la von der Leyen and Pfiz­er CEO Al­bert Bourla. The texts re­port­ed­ly led to Pfiz­er’s Eu­ro­pean deal for 1.8 bil­lion vac­cine dos­es, the New York Times re­port­ed last April. But up­on a pub­lic records re­quest, the Com­mis­sion said it hadn’t lo­cat­ed any of the al­leged texts.

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