Bharat Biotech denies wrongdoing in Covaxin deal with Brazil

The company said it followed “a step-by-step approach” to fulfil contractual obligations, but the media "misrepresented" the procurement process

The Hyderabad-based vaccine maker said the company has followed similar approach towards contracts, regulatory approvals and supplies in other countries where Covaxin is being supplied.

After the Brazil government suspended the $324 million contract to buy 20 million doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin over charges of corruption, the Hyderabad-based vaccine company gave a statement on Wednesday (June 30) clarifying that it has not got advance payment from the Jair Bolsonaro administration yet.

Bharat Biotech issued a statement stating that it followed “a step-by-step approach” to fulfil contractual obligations and get regulatory approvals. “EUA was received on June 4. As of June 29, we haven’t received any advance payments nor supplied vaccines to Brazil,” the company statement said.

The Hyderabad-based vaccine maker said the company has followed similar approach towards contracts, regulatory approvals and supplies in other countries where Covaxin is being supplied.

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Brazil was forced to cancel the Covaxin deal after charges of corruption surfaced against President Jair Bolsonaro is signing the deal for 20 million Covaxin jabs. The prosecutors are probing charges that the deal for the doses was signed in February for a comparatively high price when Pfizer was reportedly offering its vaccine at a lower price.

The $324 million deal turned sour after the Brazilian media questioned President Bolsonaro over the inflated deal with Bharat Biotech at a time when the vaccine was not approved by the regulator of Brazil. Covaxin got authorisation for emergency use in Brazil in early June, though the talks were on for last eight months.

Also read: Brazil ‘urgently’ seeks 2 mn doses of COVID vaccine from India

Bharat Biotech clarified saying the Covaxin is priced internationally between $15-20 per dose and the price for Brazil was fixed at $5 per dose. The company said that the media “misrepresented” the procurement process. “The procurement process for COVID-19 vaccines and several vaccines for routine immunization follow a common process which is widely accepted, and established in Industry,” said Bharat Biotech.

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