Beximco within its rights to take legal action against Serum Institute of India, says Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen
The failure of Serum Institute of India to deliver due vaccine doses even after taking advance payment for them is unacceptable, Beximco Pharma Managing Director Nazmul Hassan Papon has said.
“The government must talk with Serum for the due doses as it has only received 7 million doses after paying for 15 million doses,” he told the media after receiving the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine at Kurmitola General Hospital on Saturday.
“It is not acceptable that Serum will not deliver the vaccines after taking advance payment,” he stated.
“Relations between Bangladesh and India are friendly and so the government should be strict. It should take responsibility and ask India to clarify when it will be able to supply [the vaccines],” the Beximco Pharma MD said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told Dhaka Tribune: “We have contacted the Indian offices concerned several times, asking them to deliver the vaccines as per our deal. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina talked with her Indian counterpart recently as well. Diplomatic discussions are being continued for the vaccines.”
“Each time they [the Indian side] assured us that the doses would be supplied in compliance with our deal, but in reality they are stalling,” he added.
The foreign minister said Beximco Pharma, being the importer of the vaccines, was within its rights to take legal action against Serum Institute of India. “As the conflict is between two organizations, they [Beximco] have the legal ground to do it.”
Holding out an assurance, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami said earlier that India was working to ensure the supply of Covid-19 vaccines to Bangladesh so that the latter’s inoculation drive could continue.
Among all the countries India had sent vaccines to, Bangladesh had received the most, the ambassador said.
“The demand is much higher than the supply. Everyone is working together to increase the availability and supply of vaccines,” he said while speaking to reporters at Akhaura immigration checkpoint on Thursday.
Bangladesh signed an agreement with Serum Institute of India to purchase 30 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in November. Beximco Pharma is responsible for procuring the doses, according to the deal.
As stated in the contract, five million doses of the vaccine would be sent every month for six months.
Bangladesh has received 10.2 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by Serum, including 3.2 million doses as gifts in two phases from India.
Bangladesh’s nationwide vaccination drive began on February 7.
According to the health authorities of the country, some 7.75 million doses had been administered till Thursday, leaving only 2.45 million vials in stock.