Now Reading: Russian Importer Threatens to Return COVID-19 Vaccine on Govt’s Pricing
The Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine exporter i.e. AGP Limited, a Karachi-based pharmaceutical company, threatened Pakistan on Tuesday that it would “re-export” the 50,000 doses in case the government fails to revise the retail price of the vaccine.
“AGP Limited, the company that imported the 50,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, has threatened to re-export the shipment unless the government agrees to their desired price. The DRAP (Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan) drug pricing committee recommended Rs 8,449 for two doses of the vaccine, which the importer does not accept,” on the condition of anonymity, a federal government official told a private media outlet.
The importer also stated that selling the shipment to another country was “an option” if a “appropriate price” for their product could not be determined. According to the private media outlet, the official claimed that during “verbal communication,” the importer threatened to re-export the product or sell it to another country if an appropriate rate, calculated according to the government’s formula of 40% plus the product’s landing cost, was not applied when determining the price.
“The government has already been chastised for the DRAP pricing committee’s recommended price of Pakistani Rs. 8,449. It was calculated based on a USD 30 landing cost, but many are comparing it to the cost of the Russian vaccine in India and criticizing the government for setting a higher price than the neighboring country,” added the official.
Officials at AGP Limited, on the other hand, said they had the “option of re-exporting” the shipment or selling it to a country where they were “assured” they would get a price “over and above their landing cost in Pakistan.” “The government’s price of Rs 8,449 is not affordable for us because there is distributor margin, storage and transportation costs, and hospitals and institutions will also take their service charges,” a company official said.
After AGP Limited expressed dissatisfaction with the price recommended by the regulator, the federal government asked DRAP’s pricing committee to “reconsider and reassess” the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of Sputnik V vaccine doses.
AGP had previously requested a retail price of Rs 12,500-13,000 for two doses of their vaccine, based on landing costs, freight charges, cold storage, and other expenses, according to government officials.
The third wave of coronavirus has hit Pakistan. So far, Pakistan has reported 633,741 cases. In the country, 13,935 people have died as a result of the disease. Pakistan banned travel from 12 countries, including South Africa, Rwanda, and Tanzania, last week in an effort to reduce the number of coronavirus cases. On Saturday, Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi were found to be infected with the coronavirus.
If the vaccines aren’t made available soon, the consequences could be deadly.