New Delhi: Bharat Biotech has said it had not received any advance payments nor had it supplied any vaccines, after Brazil announced it was suspending a $324 million Covaxin contract that has mired President Jair Bolsonaro in accusations of irregularities.
“During the past few weeks, there have been reports in the media at large misrepresenting the procurement process of COVAXIN, in Brazil and other countries,” Bharat Biotech said.
In the specific case of the procurement of Covaxin by Ministry of Health, Brazil, since the first meetings with MOH Brazil during November 2020, until June 29, 2021, a step-by-step approach had been followed towards contracts and regulatory approvals, during this eight-long month-long process, the company said.
“The EUA was received on June 4, 2021. As of June 29, 2021, Bharat Biotech has not received any advance payments nor supplied any vaccines to MOH Brazil,” Bharat Biotech said.
“The pricing of COVAXIN has been clearly established between $15-20 per dose for supplies to Governments outside India. The pricing for Brazil has also been indicated at $15 per dose. Bharat Biotech has received advance payments from several other countries at the above price points, with supplies in process, pending approvals," it added.
Meanwhile, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has refuted allegations, saying he was not aware of any irregularity, and that there was no over-pricing in the contract, as per reports.
Precisa Medicamentos is Bharat Biotech’s partner in Brazil and currently, the duo is conducting a 5,000-subject Phase III clinical trial in Brazil, which was recently approved by ANVISA. The trial will be conducted by the Albert Einstein Institute.
“According to the preliminary analysis of the CGU, there are no irregularities in the contract but, for compliance, the Health Ministry chose to suspend the contract for a more in-depth analysis,” the Brazil ministry said in a statement. Earlier on Thursday, a global news wire had cited a CNN Brasil report that the ministry had decided to cancel the contract.
Covaxin has received emergency-use authorisation by 16 countries, including Brazil, India, the Philippines, Iran, Mexico, with applications in process in 50 other countries, according to Bharat Biotech. The company is also engaged with the World Health Organization to obtain emergency-use listing of Covaxin. The vaccine has been exported to several countries, and the company has received additional requests for supplies, it said.