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In response to concerns that key terms of Covid-19 vaccine deals remain hidden, the European Union’s ombudsman has opened an inquiry into the refusal by the European Commission to fully disclose contracts with several drug makers.

The move came after the EC refused to provide contracts and names of EU negotiators that were requested last September by Corporate Europe Observatory, a watchdog group, which argued the deals differ from the usual procurement contracts for medicines and, essentially, amounted to insurance policies that were paid for with taxpayer money.

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