No price cap on imported vaccine sale in local market
ISLAMABAD: While 1,502 other people were infected with coronavirus in a single day and 57 lost their lives across the country, the government allowed private companies to import Covid-19 vaccines and released the price cap for sale in the local market .
However, imports of only registered vaccines from credible pharmaceutical companies will be allowed and the price will be fixed once the vaccine is readily available in the international market.
“It was decided to give private companies the ability to import vaccines and save precious lives. However, only registered vaccines that are already used in the countries where they were manufactured are allowed to be imported, ”an official from the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) said on condition of anonymity.
He said the Covid-19 vaccine was not available in the market because most of the vaccine was sold through bilateral agreements between countries or given to Covax, an international alliance that had pledged to provide 20 percent of the Pakistani population for free to vaccinate.
“However, some companies have reached out to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) claiming they can arrange the vaccine and have asked to be sold in the market. So it was decided to allow them to import the vaccine and save the lives of those people who can afford to buy the vaccine straight from the market, ”he said.
In response to a question, the official replied that it was almost impossible to fix the price of the vaccine as it is currently being sold at different prices. “In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tried to convince companies to sell the vaccine to countries at preferential prices.
It does so because some companies are making the vaccine in India. China does that too. China has donated the Covid-19 vaccine to Pakistan and is also supplying the vaccine to a number of countries at preferential prices. So we are not able to set the price, ”he said.
“The matter was sent to the federal cabinet, which allowed private companies to import the vaccine and released the price cap for sale in the local market. DRAP will closely monitor the vaccination process as a record will be kept of each person / buyer. We will fix the price once the vaccine is readily available in the international market and its price stabilizes, ”he said.
The official said companies would not be allowed to use people for a clinical trial of the vaccine and would be required to provide a certificate of analysis and other relevant documents.
The Prime Minister’s Special Assistant for Health, Dr. Faisal Sultan told Dawn that private procurement of Covid-19 vaccines is allowed, but that this is not the primary method of vaccination in Pakistan.
When asked, he replied that there was no global reference price available to set the price of the vaccine. “The government will enforce one as soon as it becomes available in any country and will also review the prices charged,” he added.
It’s worth noting that only 500,000 doses of the China-donated Covid-19 vaccine have currently arrived in Pakistan. The country has pre-booked another 1.1 million doses of the vaccine from Chinese company Sinopharm. In addition, Covax has announced that it will provide 17 million free cans by the end of March.
The vaccination campaign was started on February 2nd by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
According to the National Command and Operations Center, 1,502 Covid-19 cases and 57 deaths have been reported nationwide in the past 24 hours. In addition, on Thursday 267 ventilators were manned by 37 percent in Multan, 35 percent in Lahore, 28 percent in Peshawar and 23 percent in Islamabad.
The number of active cases was 30,225 and 2,189 patients were admitted to various hospitals across the country on Thursday.
Since the pandemic began on February 26, 2020, a total of 559,093 cases have been discovered in the country and 12,185 deaths have been reported.