The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has put the vaccine institute Intravacc up for sale. Intravacc has announced this on its own website. In recent years, criticism of the planned sale has come from various angles.
Intravacc does not produce vaccines, but researches and helps develop new vaccines. Minister Kuipers (Public Health) already decided last summer that the research institute in Bilthoven had to be sold.
At present, the Dutch State still owns all the shares. The production branch was sold to an Indian company in 2012, but development and research still take place in the Netherlands.
The shares in the research institute will all be sold through a public sale process, the ad shows. Interested parties can report to EY Strategy and Transactions, the State’s financial adviser, no later than 2 June.
Already in 2015, then Minister Schippers (Public Health) decided to sell Intravacc. During the corona crisis, her successor De Jonge halted sales, but last year Kuipers decided to continue with the plan.
According to Kuipers, it has little added value to keep one vaccine institute in the Netherlands. He wants to take steps at EU level to become more self-sufficient in the field of vaccine development.
The sales plans have been criticized in recent years. Before the State can privatize a company, a report must first be drawn up on the advantages and disadvantages. This report from 2016 mainly mentioned disadvantages.
For example, there were concerns about leaving public interests to a commercial party. This could be at the expense of protection against future pandemics, according to the report. In some cases, the development of a drug can be more lucrative than the development of a vaccine.
The Court of Audit also wondered in 2017 whether public interests will be safeguarded in the long term after the sale.
During a parliamentary debate last February, it appeared that there were still concerns about the plan to sell Intravacc. The ruling party CDA wanted to make sure that Kuipers would not just sell the institute to the highest bidder. GroenLinks made the proposal to definitively abandon the sale. So that was not heeded.
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