Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19: Pakistan reverses decision to allow uncapped prices on imported vaccines

Filed on March 18, 2021

Development coincides with arrival of first shipment of Russian Sputnik-V vaccines.

Pakistan has reversed a decision which had allowed uncapped prices for COVID-19 vaccines imported by private firms, Health Minister Faisal Sultan said on Thursday.

The development coincided with arrival of first shipment of privately-imported Russian Sputnik-V vaccines.

“This is the first shipment of 50,000 doses which came last night only,” an official of AG Pharma which imported the vaccine told Reuters. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t officially authorized to release the information.

Pakistan, largely reliant on the GAVI/WHO COVAX initiative for poorer nations, had early February allowed private companies to import coronavirus vaccines and agreed to exempt such imports from price caps.

“Now, however, there is a formula, already in vogue, to determine max price,” Sultan told Reuters. “So yes, there is a price cap that DRAP (Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan) will recommend and get approval for,” he said.

The decision to allow commercial imports of the vaccine with an exemption on upper price caps had sparked criticism that it will create inequality.

The government hasn’t decided on the price, the AG Pharma official said. “As soon as government notifies its pricing to us, we will make it available at government registered private sector hospitals,” he said.

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