Thursday, January 21, 2021 | ePaper

Vaccine procurement from SII at high rates draws criticism

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Reza Mahmud :
India's Serum Institute charges 47 per cent extra price in Covid-19 vaccine than Indian market procured by Bangladesh is drawing criticism in the country.
Human health experts said it is not fair to charge so high price for the vaccine than Indian market. Different persons have alleged that the government has given business facility to Beximco Group through this covid vaccine.
Sources said the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine producing by India's Serum company will be available in Indian market within 2 dollar per dose while it will be 5 dollar in Bangladesh.
 "It is not fair to charge so high extra price from Bangladesh for the Indian company. The government of Bangladesh should bargain with them to reduce its price," said Professor Dr. Nazrul Islam, former Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).
He said government should ensure reasonable price of the vaccine.
Meanwhile, Trustee of the Ganosaystho Trust, Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury, alleged that government has given facility to the Beximco Group through importing Covid vaccine from India.
 "It is nothing but giving Beximco group business facility. The government has ignored Cinovac's proposal for conducting human trial of the vaccine. It is not acceptable," Dr. Zafrullah said.
On the other hand, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal (Lotus Kamal) on Wednesday said that if India charges extra money on procuring Covid-19 vaccine then it would be collected from other producers.
 "It is not difficult to procure Covid-19 vaccine from producers of different countries. If any country charges extra price of the vaccine then we will stop buying from them and procure from others," the Minister told journalists after a virtual meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic and Public Procurement on Wednesday.
Replying to query about procuring Covid-19 vaccines paying 47 per cent more price then Indian market, the ministers said I have no information about the extra pricing by the neighboring country.
He said, "The vaccine is producing in their country, so it is simple that they will get a privilege to buy it in cheaper rate. They must charge production cost and profit during selling it."
 "We cannot hope to buy same price of their market as they are its producers. But we must monitor to the international markets about its price. If they charge extra than the normal market price, then we definitely have a choice to leave them and buy from other countries. Because the vaccine is not producing by any lone country," the Finance Minister said.
The Minister said that vaccine will get importance in the upcoming national budget.
"Everyone is waiting when the vaccine will be arrived. It is not difficult to bring vaccine in the country, but it is hard to complete inoculations among the people. We are also trying to start the vaccination work smoothly after its arrival. We are optimistic about success in this field."
Mustafa Kamal said the Prime Minister wants to bear cost of those inoculations who are not able to afford it.
It is not easy to complete the vaccination of about 17 crore people. So that we will go step by step with the programme.
It will be decided who will get the first phase of inoculations and then the second phase and such way it will be completed, he added.

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