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Millions in Pfizer payments to Israeli health bodies went unreported, says report

Were four million shekels too 'confusing' to report?

Posted by

January 05, 2023


01:58 PM

Millions in Pfizer payments to Israeli health bodies went unreported, says report

Israeli medical institutions failed to report over NIS 4 million ($1,120,000) they collectively received from Pfizer in 2020, according to an investigation by Zman Emet. 

In Israel, the origin of the worldwide COVID-19 vaccine experiment, medical institutions are required to report to the Health Ministry all donations greater than NIS 2,500 ($710). 

The report from 2020 shows that out of 47 payments received by hospitals and medical institutions, 30 were paid by Pfizer alone, totaling NIS 8,129,252. Over half that amount — NIS 4,129,047 — was categorized obscurely as “Research unreported to the Contracts Committee,” a committee within the Health Ministry which approves research studies commissioned by bodies such as pharmaceutical companies. 

For example, one Pfizer payment to Carmel Hospital for NIS 840,000 was listed as “Research unreported to the Contracts Committee.” A spokesperson for Carmel told Zman Emet that NIS 780,154 was for a study on a Pfizer drug called tofacitinib (under the trade name XELJANZ) for patients with acute rheumatoid arthritis. Zman Emet checked databases and found two studies done on tofacitinib: one was a joint study with other hospitals which was not led by Carmel Hospital, and there was no Pfizer payment disclosed in the published study. The other study was simply an abstract and unlikely to be worthy of NIS 780,154. 

The hospital did not respond to further questions. 

As for the remaining NIS 59,846 paid by Pfizer, Carmel claims the hospital never received it. 

Some beneficiaries of Pfizer monies in 2020 included Sheba Medical Center, Hadassah and Beilinson Hospitals, Yeda Research and Development Ltd — the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute, which deals with the development, marketing and commercialization of products based on research of the institute's scientists — and Mor Application of Research Ltd., a company belonging to Israeli's largest HMO the Klalit Hospital Fund. 

Sheba Medical Center received a total NIS 893,584 from Pfizer in the year the COVID-19 vaccines were introduced, classified as “Research unreported to the Contracts Committee.” The same went for the NIS 426,543 received by Mor Application of Research Ltd. 

Pfizer paid The Weizmann Institute NIS 287,998; Hadassah Hospital (the Hadassah Research Fund and the hospital itself) NIS 294,832, and Beilinson (the Friends of the Rabin Medical Center association, as well as the Rabin Medical Center itself), NIS 261,209. Ichilov Hospital, Rambam Hospital, Wolfson Hospital, the National Health Insurance Fund and the Medical Association (RA) all received payments ranging up to NIS 100,000.

Pfizer also paid NIS 402,986 to Ariel University, NIS 175,340 to Ben Gurion University, and NIS 280,001 to Tel Aviv University. 

Many of these institutions did not respond to inquiries. Hadassah Hospital simply told Zman Emet that it is compliant with regulations, Tel Aviv University claimed it was not required to report the payment to the committee, and Ben Gurion University claimed all payments were research grants reported to the committee, despite the categorization disputing that claim. 

The Health Ministry allows health institutions to report some monies as “Research unreported to the Contracts Committee" when the payer holds no vested interest in the research grant. If Pfizer is funding research that is irrelevant to a Pfizer drug it would qualify as “Research unreported to the Contracts Committee.” 

When questioned about Pfizer’s research grant to Carmel for a Pfizer drug, however, the Health Ministry said that sometimes, the beneficiary may get confused and does not know what the payment is for. 

"It is important to note that there are cases in which the one reporting the payment does not know how to make the distinction or is not sure whether the funding was reported to the Contracts Committee and therefore may report this in the donation report under 'Research unreported to the Contracts Committee'.” 

So, it is possible that over $1 million that Pfizer paid to Israeli medical institutions were simply too confusing to report correctly.

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