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SHC gives Centre one week to fix coronavirus vaccine price

DRAP, AGP Limited at odds over vaccine import

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 31, 2021 | Last Updated: 8 months ago
Posted: Mar 31, 2021 | Last Updated: 8 months ago

Photo: File

The Sindh High Court gave the federal government one week to fix the price of all the coronavirus vaccines being imported into the country.

People across the world are being administered vaccines and you don’t even have one million doses, said Justice Amjad Ali Sahito while speaking to the additional attorney general. “You are not doing anything. Please fix the price as people are waiting to be vaccinated.”

The lawyer of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan told the court that the Federal Cabinet will fix the prices during a meeting later in the day.

He said that they can’t let companies import vaccines without fixing their prices first as they would sell them at exorbitant rates.

The AGP Limited lawyer said that the government has been deceiving people. They allowed us to import the vaccine first and then withdrew the pricing clause.

Last week, the high court suspended DRAP’s March 18 notification withdrawing exemption given to AGP Limited to import the COVID-19 vaccine. It was granted permission on February 2 after which the company imported Sputnik V doses. DRAP then revoked the drug pricing permission granted to them.

The bench was hearing the maintainability of the following two cases today:

  • DRAP’s appeal against the Sindh High Court’s suspension of its notification.
  • AGP Limited’s contempt case against the authority for not releasing the imported doses of the vaccine to them.

The appeals will be taken by a single-member bench on Thursday.

The case should be disposed of in 10 days as it concerns public interest, the bench added.

Price of vaccines

On Tuesday, the high court heard a case on the fair distribution of the coronavirus vaccines. It issued notices to the federal and Sindh health departments.

The petitioners said that the price of Russian and Chinese vaccines have been fixed at higher rates than that in neighbouring countries.

The government has set the price of Russia’s Sputnik V at Rs8,449 for two doses, while that of China’s Convidecia at Rs4,225 per jab.

Pakistan is currently vaccinating people above 50 years and health workers. They are being administered the Sinopharm vaccine for free.

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