Oxford vaccine may cost $6-7 in Pakistan
KARACHI: The federal and provincial governments have been offered to buy the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine for $6-7 by a Pakistani importer if they procure the important drug in bulk, reported The News recently.
However, Sindh Medical Stores (SMS) has not given a timeframe as to when it would be able to deliver the vaccine to the country.
SMS was allowed to import the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Pakistan by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) recently. The approval was given on the recommendations of an expert panel that asked DRAP to give emergency use authorisation to the British-Swedish multinational company’s AZD-1222 vaccine in the country.
“After getting the emergency use authorisation and permission from the DRAP to import the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s AZD1222 vaccine in Pakistan, we have offered to provide it for USD 6-7 per dose to the federal and provincial governments. We, however, don’t know when we would be able to get hold of the first consignment of the vaccine as it has been already purchased by the several countries of the world,” SMS official Usman Ghani told The News.
The official shared that SMS will be able to provide the British company’s vaccine $6-7 per dose, making it Rs1,000 to 1,200 per dose if the government agrees to buy 30 to 50 million doses.
“For the private sector and institutions, we have offered to provide it for Rs2,000 to Rs2,500 per dose if they order 10,000 or more doses. But it should be very clear that we would only be providing the vaccine to reputed institutions like Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), Shaukat Khanum hospital and others,” Usman Ghani added.
To a question about the delivery of the vaccine, Ghani said that he could not share the exact date as AstraZeneca was supplying it to other countries that had already booked and paid for the vaccine in advance.
“AstraZeneca has authorised to manufacture the vaccine in the Serum Institute of India, Pune, for bulk production but most of the production would be used for vaccinating a sizeable population of India before it is allowed to Pakistan. We have very good business relations with the Serum Institute of India and we would try our best to procure it as early as possible,” he added.
The SMS official warned the government to remain cautious of people and firms trying to take advantage of the situation by selling the vaccine to the government between $13.5 to $15.5. He clarified that his organisation was the “sole importer” and authorised agents of the British firm AstraZeneca.
“Similarly, there are reports that we have offered to supply the vaccine in thousands of rupees per dose, which is also incorrect and misleading. We cannot supply any product without the approval of DRAP and we hope that it would approve the vaccine price, which we have demanded,” he added.
Following the emergency use authorisation to both the British and Chinese vaccines, the matter has been forwarded to DRAP’s pricing board, an official of the DRAP told The News, saying without the approval of the pricing board, no product can be sold in Pakistan.
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