Friday, 10 June 2022

Pfizer, Sobi Investing €100m In New High-Tech Plant Near Zagreb

ZAGREB, 10 June 2022- The Pfizer and Sobi biopharmaceutical companies inaugurated the construction of a new high-tech production plant in Savski Marof on Friday in which they are investing €100 million and from which they will export innovative biological drugs to 50 world countries as of 2026.

The plant is located where Pfizer's Haspira company has already had a plant since 2015. The new plant should be built by 2024. It will spread over 4,000 square metres on 11 hectares of land.

The existing plant makes biological substances for drugs, final drug products for cancer and rare diseases, and components for COVID vaccines. The new plant will produce drugs for rare conditions.

The director of the existing plant, Domagoj Runjac, said they started with 30 employees less than ten years ago and now there are 500, and that another 100 would be hired in the new plant. "This is the only such factory in Croatia, and in the broader area, and the first which Pfizer is building together with Sobi."

Pfizer vice president Steven Stears said high-tech standards of doing business and production would be implemented.

Pfizer is here to change patients' lives for the better, but also to create jobs, he said, adding that it is fantastic to see what is being done in Savski Marof and that the first drugs will be launched in 2026.

Sobi senior vice president Christine Wesstrom said this Swedish company needed a strong partner for the high-quality and sustainable production of complex drugs and has found one in Pfizer.

The high-tech and research teams and managements in both companies, as well as in Croatia, guarantee this cooperation's success, she added.

Economy Ministry state secretary Nataša Mikuš Žigman said the new plant and Pfizer-Sobi's investment was important for the local economy and the promotion of Croatia as a country in which high-tech industries were being developed.

Croatia has great human resources and potential for developing biotechnological production, and this investment will help increase production capacities and diversify the Croatian economy, she said.

The investment will also increase competitiveness and the production of drugs for export will reduce supply chain risks, she added.

The US Pfizer is one of the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies discovering, developing and supplying more than 170 drugs and vaccines. Its first Croatian branch was opened in 1996. The company focuses on oncology, internal medicine, vaccines, immunology, and rare diseases.

Together with BioNTech, Pfizer developed a COVID vaccine, delivering more than 2.9 billion doses in 170 countries this year. Another four billion doses are expected to be manufactured this year, with two billion to be provided to low and middle-income countries.

Sobi is present in over 70 countries and is dedicated to developing and implementing innovative treatments in haematology and immunology as well as specialist care for patients with rare diseases, who number 300 million.

There is no treatment for 95% of the 6,000 rare diseases recorded, and Sobi sees this as an opportunity, it was said today.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Pfizer Withdrawing Some Medication, Croatian Patients Advised to Contact GPs

October the 6th, 2021 - The name Pfizer might now be well and truly synonymous with the coronavirus vaccine, but the company is long standing and produces many medications. One of them is about to be withdrawn from the Croatian market, and as such, Croatian patients who usually take it need to contact their GPs.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a very well-known drug is being withdrawn from the market, the Croatian Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices reported on Monday.

Two batches of the drug Champix, produced by the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, are being withdrawn. The drug is used to help adults stop smoking, and given the size of the smoking issue here, Croatian patients who are using the drug should give their family doctors a call to be made aware of what they need to do to continue with their therapies.

"In the Republic of Croatia, there are no other batches of these drugs that aren't affected by this, it's the same situation with other drugs which contain the active substance varenicline. Therefore, we instruct all users of this medicine to contact their doctor sregarding the continuation of their therapy,'' the Agency stated.

As the marketing authorisation holder for Champix, Pfizer, in cooperation with the Agency, is withdrawing from the Croatian market, the following batches of the following pharmaceutical forms of this medicine are set to be no more:

- batch 00023401 of Champix 1 mg film-coated tablets

- batch 00022025 of Champix 0.5 mg and 1 mg film-coated tablets (the pack to start with this therapy).

“The withdrawal is being carried out to the wholesale level. The withdrawal procedure is being carried out due to the increased level of nitrosamine contaminants in the medicinal product compared to the acceptable levels of intake prescribed in the European Union (EU). Based on the available data, there is currently no risk for patients taking this medicine,'' the Agency concluded.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 25 June 2021

Over a Million Fully Vaccinated Croatians

25 June 2021 – The number of fully vaccinated Croatians rose over 1 million. This means over 30% of adults in Croatia have received all the necessary doses of the vaccine.

The anti-COVID19 vaccination rush started a few months ago in Croatia. During winter some rather unpleasant truths surfaced as to how the distribution of vaccines among EU countries works. Along with the inability of AstraZeneca to deliver the vaccine in a timely manner, it seems Croatia was not getting its fair share of those that arrived in the EU, especially when compared to some richer countries of the union. The situation did change for the better. In the last few months, Croatian vaccination efforts have been progressing steadily. quoted Prime Minister Plenkovic's tweet from this morning in which he boasts good vaccination numbers. He announced Croatia surpassed one million fully vaccinated citizens. He also urged Croatians to continue with the positive trend and enter autumn and winter fully protected.

Promising Numbers

Official data by the Croatian Institute of Public Health say 1.020.266 persons are now fully vaccinated. Out of them, 1.000.279 have received both doses of Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccines. 19.281 persons have received one (and only) dose of the Jannsen vaccine. If you think one million people is not a big number, you are forgetting the size of Croatia. These numbers mean 30,4% of the adult population of the country is now been fully vaccinated. This is not a bad result, especially when all the problems from the start of the vaccination process are considered.

Croatian Institute of Public Health is calling upon citizens to continue showing up for available vaccination appointments. They are also urging older citizens to show up a bit early and limit the amount of time they will have to wait in the heat. Bringing water, something to eat and preferably a sun umbrella is also a good idea.

As the fight against COVID19 continues, Croatians are hoping these numbers continue rising and the rest of the summer brings enough tourism revenue to ensure a more peaceful winter.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia check out our COVID-19 section and select your language.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Croatian Vaccination Process - What if I'm Away for my Second Dose?

May the 21st, 2021 - Just how is the Croatian vaccination process going and what is the situation for those who will be leaving their registered place of residence during summer, but need to get their second dose?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, what will the Croatian vaccination process and receiving the second dose of the vaccine look like in the upcoming season which will be full of summer holidays in Croatia with people staying for longer periods outside of their place of residence? All of that was explained the Croatian Institute of Public Health, which has informed people to contact the health services of their places of registered residence.

''There's a possibility that people who will be outside of their place of residence during their planned second dose of the vaccine can be vaccinated before or after going to the coast or even when on holiday with a doctor of their choice or at public health institutes if the recommended vaccination interval allows,'' the Institute stated.

The recommended interval between the first and second dose of Comirnaty (Pfizer) is three to six weeks, Moderna four weeks (it can be extended to six weeks if necessary), and for Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) that recommended interval is between four and twelve weeks.

More practically, the Janssen Johnson & Johnson vaccine is administered in just one single dose.

In case of urgent need, it is okay for all of these vaccines to deliver a second dose four days before the earliest recommended date. Alternatively, people can be vaccinated at the place where they will be staying at the scheduled time for their second dose of the vaccine.

''We'd like to note that the organisation and planning of vaccination, given the distribution plan and characteristics of these vaccines (which arrive in certain quantities which are planned for) we require advance information about the planned number of doses and types of vaccines.

Therefore, we'd like to ask people to announce and pre-arrange their second dose of the vaccination with doctors in their place of temporary residence, or at the competent health centre at that location, so that the necessary additional doses can be planned and provided, with a request to understand that this may not always be possible at the requested time,'' they stated from the Institute as the Croatian vaccination process picks up its pace.

Just what will this procedure look like in practice when it comes to tourist areas, primarily in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, whose tourist destinations on the coast and islands see population increases of several times during the summer? Dr. Vladimir Micovic answered this for Novi List.

''The idea is for people to be vaccinated before they leave their places of residence and to get vaccinated in the areas where they live. But of course, if they find themselves in our area, we'll do our best to get them the necessary vaccine. At this end, we'll open up some additional channels for communication. So far, in some cases, we've vaccinated people who don't have registered residence in this area, as well as foreign citizens who live here,'' Micovic explained.

For more on the Croatian vaccination process, make sure to follow our lifestyle section.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of testing centres and vaccination points up and down the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Pfizer to Produce Materials For Its COVID-19 Vaccine in Croatia, Says PM

ZAGREB, 20 May 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that Pfizer would produce materials for its COVID-19 vaccine in its pharmaceutical plant in Savski Marof outside Zagreb, which would put Croatia into the group of European countries that manufacture ingredients of certain vaccines.

Plenković informed his cabinet today that he had discussed this matter with Pfizer's chairman and chief executive officer Albert Bourla on Wednesday.

The Savski Marof plant will produce the DNA template for the COVID-19 vaccine. This is an investment of $10 million, and will create jobs for about 30 people.

Plenković recalled that the European Commission had announced that an agreement had been reached with Pfizer on the delivery of 900 million doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 plus an additional 900 million, which means 1.8 billion doses from December 2021 to 2023.

He underscored the fact that in Croatia one in three adults had already received at least one shot of the vaccine against coronavirus infection.

The target is to have at least 50%-55% of the adult population vaccinated by the end of June.

Plenković also informed the cabinet about the Defence Council meeting on the procurement of multipurpose fighter jets. The Council convened on Thursday morning.

He reiterated that providing the armed forces with such aircraft would be "the greatest and the most important procurement for the armed forces."

The procurement will make Croatia an important and credible ally within NATO and will enable the Croatian armed forces to participate in various international missions at a completely different level, he added.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centers up and down the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

HZJZ: One in Three Adults Vaccinated

ZAGREB, 20 May 2021 - As of today, every third adult in Croatia has been vaccinated against COVID-19, the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, 19 May, 43,890 doses of the vaccine were used, and the number of persons that have received at least one dose reached 1,109,161, which is 27% of the population or 33% of the adult population, while 341,008 persons have received both doses.

According to data from the eCijepih platform, as of 20 May, every third adult in Croatia has been vaccinated, which is a big step forward compared to early May, when on 1 May every fifth adult citizen of Croatia had been vaccinated, the HZJZ said.

First dose vaccine coverage is highest in Zagreb, 31% of the total population or 37.6% of the adult population, and second dose vaccine coverage is highest in Sisak-Moslavina County, 12% of the population or 14.4% of adults.

"These are encouraging data that give us reason for optimism when it comes to meeting the goal of vaccinating over a half of Croatia's adult population by the end of June. Vaccination is going according to plan, the epidemiological situation is better than in previous weeks and this is certainly good news, especially in the context of the upcoming tourist season," said HZJZ deputy director Ivana Pavić Šimetin.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centres up and down the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Vaccine Information For Those Who Got First Dose at the Zagreb Fair

May 5, 2021 - People in Zagreb are getting their vaccines against the novel coronavirus, and the ‘‘Dr. Andrija Štampar’’ Institute has some vaccine information for them.

The vaccination process is continuing across all regions of Croatia to combat the novel coronavirus, even after a few weeks of uncertainty marked by problems with the vaccination portal One of the vaccination points in the capital is at the Zagreb Fair, and those in charge have vaccine information about both doses for those who attend this vaccination point.

According to Our World in Data, as of 4 May, 944,398 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Croatia, with 734,556 people receiving the first dose and 209,842 receiving both doses.

As reported by, the "Dr. Andrija Štampar" Institute wants to inform all citizens of the City of Zagreb who have been vaccinated with the first dose at the vaccination point at the Zagreb Fair that they have been referred for vaccination with the second dose. The term of vaccination with the second dose was defined in accordance with the recommendations of the Croatian Institute of Public Health.

Citizens can check the exact date for their second dose of vaccination at the Fair via the e-Citizens system, by calling the toll-free number 0800 8804 or via their selected family doctor (GP).

The "Dr. Andrija Štampar" Institute has also noted that the second dose of vaccination at the vaccination point at the Zagreb Fair is being organised exclusively for people who have already received their first dose of vaccine at that point. People without an referral term will not be vaccinated there due to limited organisational capacity.

In addition, "Stampar" has asked citizens to strictly adhere to the referral deadlines in order to avoid unnecessary crowds and for the purpose of more consistent adherence to epidemiological measures and recommendations.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centres across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section.

Friday, 16 April 2021

Croatia Will Have Received 1.8 Million Pfizer COVID Doses by 1 July

ZAGREB, 16 April, 2021 - Croatia can expect the delivery of 1.8 million Pfizer doses against coronavirus and the inoculation of 55% of the population against this infectious disease until 1 July, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said on Friday.

Representatives of the team said at a news conference that Croatia has registered a 32% weekly rise in new cases, and that the share of positive tests was 29.2% on Friday.

In terms of the incidence rate, Croatia  currently ranks 21st in the European Union and in the terms of the death rate, it ranks 17th, Croatia's chief epidemiologist Krunoslav Capak told the news conference.

"Pfizer has ramped up its delivery of vaccines for us. We Will have received a total of 1.805 million doses of this vaccine by the end of June," Capak said adding that he expected more than half of the population to get COVID shots before 1 July.

The head of the Zagreb-based Fran Mihaljević hospital for infectious diseases, Alemka Markotić called for additional caution before people get vaccinated.

"It would be a pity to develop serious symptoms of this disease now when we can be vaccinated soon," she said.

She said that the British variant of the novel virus was currently dominant in the European Union.

Markotić said that her hospital has been full with patients for days and that she was particularly concerned with the difficult condition of patients aged between 25 and 40.

Health Minister Vili Beroš reassured the general public that there would be enough vaccines for everyone who wishes to be immunised against this infectious disease.

Beroš dismissed accusations from some media outlets and Opposition lawmakers that the Cuspis company, which is allegedly owned by a family friend, had been favoured by the Health Ministry in the task to design the Cijepise (Get Vaccinated) platform.

Beroš said that all data concerning this issue were available on the ministry's website.

Beroš went on to say that the company had been hired by the ministry for some other tasks before he became an assistant minster and before his ministerial term.

For more about vaccination in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Croatian PM Andrej Plenković Says European Commission Intends to Ramp up Pfizer Vaccine Deliveries in Q2

ZAGREB, 14 April, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday that the European Commission in cooperation with the EU member-states was trying to ramp up the deliveries of Pfizer COVID vaccines in the second quarter of 2021.

Plenković informed his cabinet that earlier in the day he had talked with the EC President Ursula von der Leyen and that she informed him of the plans about a faster Pfizer COVID vaccine rollout in the second quarter of 2021.

The relevant information will soon be discussed by other relevant bodies.

Plenković called on the Croatians to comply with anti-epidemic measures and to behave responsibly.

He warned that for eight consecutive weeks, Croatia had been registering a rise in the number of confirmed infections with the novel coronavirus and in the number of related deaths.

We are trying to catch up with the inoculation rate and curb the spread of the virus, he added.

For more about vaccination in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Details of EU Summit Negotiations: At Least Another 500,000 Pfizer Doses in Croatia?

March 27, 2021 - Will there be at least another 500,000 Pfizer doses in Croatia? If the EU Summit negotiations successful, Croatia could vaccinate more than half of the adult population with a single dose of vaccine by June 30, 2021. 

Jutarnji List reports that if the negotiations of the permanent representatives of the EU member states in COREPER are successful, Croatia could vaccinate just over half of the adult population with one COVID-19 vaccine dose by June 30, which would bring it closer to the EU average.

This is the essence of the European Council meeting held on Thursday, at which Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković advocated that 10 million doses of Pfizer vaccine, which will arrive in the second quarter of this year, be distributed so that more doses are given to those members who are being the EU vaccination average because they were left without large quantities of vaccines ordered from AstraZeneca.

Croatia has missed a lot because only 17 percent of the promised AstraZeneca doses arrived in Croatia. Thus, the country is currently third in the EU in terms of the number of vaccinated citizens with one dose, followed by Latvia and Bulgaria. No agreement was reached at the European Council. Still, the joint statement emphasized that the doses would be distributed according to the principle of European solidarity, which would have to be agreed upon by the political body. That fact alone gives us hope that Croatia could do well.

Namely, out of 100 million doses planned for delivery in the fourth quarter, Pfizer will deliver 10 million doses in the second quarter. They will now negotiate what percentage will go to the countries that lag behind the most and how much to all others. 

Among the numerous proposals was that all 10 million doses go to the four, five, or six most severely deprived countries, including Croatia, but this could not pass because each country wants certain doses for itself. It was mentioned that Croatia could receive as many as 1.4 million doses by the end of June, but that, Prime Minister Plenković explained yesterday, was just one of the proposals.

While the amount of doses Croatia is now counting on is still unclear, given that it is a matter of negotiations, we know that a little more than half a million Pfizer doses would bring Croatia closer to the average by the end of June. With this dynamic, Croatia could have more than half of the adult population vaccinated.

Some countries have demanded that the principle continue, with these 10 million doses, to be exclusively proportional, i.e., concerning the number of inhabitants, but this would be unfavorable for Croatia because it would receive only 90,000 doses June 30, which would still lag behind the EU average.

As things stand now, Croatia will get far more than that; the goal is more than half a million to make up for the loss with others.

According to these calculations, Bulgaria should get the most, given the population and the fact that it is at the bottom of the EU in terms of vaccination.

"The conclusion on that topic was to find an agreement on the ratio of distributing those 10 million doses in the spirit of solidarity, which means that those who have less will get more," said Plenković yesterday and later explained that EU leaders support compensating Croatia for the lack of vaccines. 

The good news from the meeting is that the leaders agreed to distribute these doses according to the principle of solidarity. Still, the not-so-good news is that the rest of the vaccine will be distributed as before, according to the "pro-rata" principle. However, if the first goal is achieved, then further distribution according to the principle of proportionality is less unfavorable for Croatia.

These are the two messages from the summit that ended on Thursday before midnight. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's idea to "distribute the vaccine more fairly" between member states has only been understood when it comes to an additional 10 million doses without Austria, which, according to others, has not been missed.

Kurz was not only not supported by German Chancellor Angela Merkel but also by Mark Rutte from the Netherlands. Austria will not be able to count on abandoning the principle of dividing the vaccine "pro-rata" according to the number of inhabitants and according to the quantity ordered by the states from individual producers. They won’t be able to count on most of these 10 million doses either.

However, Croatia, Bulgaria, Latvia, and the Czech Republic can benefit from this. When Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he is ready to agree to give more to Croatia, that is important news. Rutte is a classic representative of the school that in diplomacy, it is necessary to go cold-headed but also cold-hearted. So, if the principle of solidarity is agreed upon, which means that some need to give more for others to get more, the factual situation should also be taken into account. And the fact is that Austria, unlike Croatia and Bulgaria, does not lag far behind others in vaccination. Moreover, Austria is even above the EU average.

According to the plan presented by Ursula von der Leyen at the summit, 360 million doses will be delivered in the second quarter. But of that, just 70 million AstraZeneca, 200 million Pfizer doses, 35 million Moderna doses, and 55 million Johnson & Johnson.

To read more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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