ISLAMABAD: Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) has asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to review the policy of allowing private import of the Covid-19 vaccine, and cancel it altogether, as across the globe, governments are procuring vaccines and administering it to their citizens for free because it is the responsibility of the state.
In a letter to the prime minister on Monday, Chairperson of TIP, retired Justice Nasira Iqbal pointed out that Pakistan is one of the first countries to allow the private sector to import and sell Covid-19 vaccines, and this will provide a window of corruption as there are possibilities that the government’s vaccines may be sold to private hospitals.
The letter referred to the procurement of Sputnik-V, comprising 50,000 doses, by the private sector in Pakistan, and as reported, the federal cabinet has fixed the maximum sale price of Sputnik-V Russian vaccine at Rs8,449 for two doses and China’s Conividecia at Rs422 per injection.
The global price set for Sputnik-V vaccine is $10 per dose, and this means that internationally two doses of Sputnik-V are available at $20. However, the approved price for its commercial sale in Pakistan is 160pc higher than the international price. It may be pointed out that in India, a single dose of Gamalya Centre/Sputnik-V vaccine cost less than INR734.
With this rate, taking into consideration difference in the currency value system, cost of Sputnik-V in Pakistan should be Rs1,500. Cost of the vaccine in Pakistan is 150pc higher than the international market price, Justice Iqbal highlighted in her letter.
Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2021