International

Brazil Suspends Covaxin Deal Amid Irregularities Accusation; Probe Ordered

Brazil agreed to pay $324 million — at a cost of $15 per vaccine dose, the most expensive of all vaccines Brazil purchased — to Precisa Medicamentos, the representative of Bharat Biotech in Brazil.

In a major setback to Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech which manufactures Covaxin, the Bolsanaro-led government in Brazil has suspended a $324 million contract for 20 million doses of Covaxin after accusations of irregularities came to light in the deal. A probe has also been ordered in this regard.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday with Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga, the head of the Federal Comptroller General (CGU) Wagner Rosario, said that the agency will investigate the process of purchasing the vaccine.

“We suspended the deal as a simple preventive measure, since there are complaints that could not be explained well by the complainant, so we opened a preliminary investigation last week,” said Rosario, as quoted by CNN Brasil. “We have put in a reinforced team for the verification. We hope to be very quick in this process, and we hope that in no more than 10 days we will already have an answer for this analysis,” he added.

The Brazil Health Ministry had signed a contract for 20 million Covaxin doses with Bharat Biotech in February.

According to CNN, the vaccine doses were never sent to Brazil, as the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) denied import requests for the vaccine.

Also Read: Not Received Covishield Approval Request: EU Medical Body

The negotiation between the Bolsonaro government and Need Medicines — the Brazilian pharmaceutical company that brokered the deal — has been under the scanner. As things stand, the contract is being probed by a country’s Senate panel that’s also investigating the government’s handling of the pandemic.

Brazil agreed to pay $324 million — at a cost of $15 per vaccine dose, the most expensive of all vaccines Brazil purchased — to Precisa Medicamentos, the representative of Bharat Biotech in Brazil, according to a document sent to the AP by the prosecutor-general’s press office.

President Jair Bolsanaro has denied these allegations.

 

 

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