The government is evaluating the company’s capacity, says DGHS chief
Local pharmaceutical company Renata Limited has applied to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) seeking permission to import Moderna Covid-19 vaccines from the US.
DGHS Director General Dr ABM Khurshid Alam said on Monday: “The documents [submitted by Renata] have been sent to the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA). They are evaluating whether it [Renata] has the capacity to bring in and manage the handling of the vaccine.”
He made the remarks after visiting DNCC’s dedicated Covid-19 Hospital in Mohakhali.
“The Moderna vaccine has to be stored at low temperatures, which is difficult. If they have the capacity to import, handle and transport the vaccine, the DGHS has the capacity to store it in Dhaka,” he added.
According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Moderna vaccine must be stored between -15 degrees Celsius and -50 degrees Celsius.
Renata CEO and Managing Director Syed S Kaiser Kabir could not be reached for comments on the matter.
Renata Company Secretary Jubayer Alam said that they had submitted the application on April 20. “We have applied for no-objection certificates to bring in the Moderna as well as the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines,” he added.
Asked if Renata had been in contact with the manufacturers, Jubayer Alam said that they would sit with the companies once they secured the NOCs. “It is still unclear when we will be able to import the vaccines.”
The matter came into light at a time when the government is negotiating with Russia and China to import vaccines on an emergency basis.
Via Beximco Pharmaceuticals, Bangladesh initially got Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from the Serum Institute of India, but the shipment was later suspended in late March due to lack of supplies.
The country was supposed to get 30 million vaccines from the SII in six instalments within six months. Till now, Bangladesh has received only 7 million vaccines. Besides, India has given 3.3 million vaccines as a gift. This is the largest amount sent from India to any country.
The first shipment of five million vaccines arrived in January while the second consignment of two million doses came in February.