Private Israeli security companies allegedly offered foreign governments to purchase Pfizer's coronavirus vaccines directly from them in violation of the agreement with the pharmaceutical giant.
An investigation conducted by Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth unveiled that at least two companies were in advanced negotiations with several countries earlier this year and were on the verge of signing contracts that apparently included a "non-disclosure" clause.
The initial complaint about the Israeli companies was received by the Health Ministry from Pfizer itself back in April.
Israel was among the first countries in the world to strike a deal with the U.S. drug giant for the purchase of its coronavirus vaccine in exchange for the vast troves of medical data. The move allowed Israel to carry out an exceptionally high-paced vaccination campaign and become among the first in the world to lift all pandemic-induced restrictions.
Following Pfizer's complaint, the Health Ministry launched an internal probe to examine whether the two companies were offering vaccines from the national stock reserved for Israelis or from another source.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the two companies involved in the affair are More Than Security (MTS) and CDD.
Representatives of the Health Ministry apparently spoke with the owners of the companies and received explanations from them but the possibility of filing complaints with the police against the two firms was considered at some point.
Sources involved in the affair said that MTS offered Switzerland, via a private Swiss company, a supply of three million vaccines on March 15 of this year. Three weeks later, on April 4, Health Ministry representatives met with the owners of the company, but they refused to reveal the source of the vaccines they were offering.
"MTS is a leading company in project management and emergency management. The company has examined the possibility of cooperating with a private Swiss company regarding the supply of vaccines in Europe, subject to Pfizer's distribution policy through an authorized distributor on their behalf," said the company in a statement.
Sources also said that CDD, which is headed by entrepreneur Adam Schuster, on March 19 offered the governments of France and Netherlands over 30 million vaccine doses for sale.
Schuster initially denied that an inquiry had been made into his company, but after being confronted with evidence that representatives of the Health Ministry visited his home, admitted to the meeting, which he said lasted only a few minutes. "People from the Health Ministry went as they came after realizing that this was a complete mistake."
The Health Ministry in an official response said the internal probe into the affair did not unveil any illegal activity on the part of the two companies.
"The Israeli companies did not want to provide the source of the vaccines they allegedly have, but said they were not part of the vaccine stock of Israel."