AstraZeneca warns SL not to purchase from private buyers
Posted on May 27th, 2021

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Says offers by private companies is likely counterfeit and should be refused and reported

AstraZeneca has informed Sri Lanka’s State Pharmaceutical Corporation not to purchase the AstraZeneca vaccines from any private trader or company as these vaccines are likely to be counterfeit and should be refused and reported to the relevant authorities. 

The Daily Mirror learns that in a desperate bid to secure 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to roll out the second jabs as time runs out, Sri Lankan authorities had made inquiries from several private companies who claim they have stocks of the AstraZeneca and are willing to sell it to Sri Lanka at a higher rate. 

A senior minister told Daily Mirror earlier this week that an inquiry had also been made in the black market as the government wanted to fulfill its responsibility of administering the second doses to all those who had received the first jabs.

The government has expressed its willingness to purchase the 600,000 injections at any price.

The Daily Mirror learns that authorities were in discussions with over 15 private global companies who said they had stocks and were willing to part with 600,000 doses for a higher price. However the government had reached out to the AstraZeneca parent company seeking validation over the authenticity of these doses, and said they would purchase it only if confirmed by the manufacturers and parent company. 

In response to this query by the State Pharmaceutical Corporation, AstraZeneca Singapore (Pvt) Ltd., in a letter sent to SPC Chairman Dr. Prasanna Gunasena said that AstraZeneca had learnt that numerous private traders and companies had been approaching the government in Sri Lanka to sell the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca.

The Associate Director, Government Affairs, Asia Area of AstraZeneca, Jasper Meyns said that AstraZeneca’s current focus was delivering on its substantial global commitments to governments and international health organizations as quickly as possible to help end the pandemic.

“As such, there is currently no private sector supply, sale or distribution of the vaccine. If a trader, or company other than AstraZeneca offers private vaccines, it is likely counterfeit, so should be refused and reported to the relevant authorities,” the letter said.

“AstraZeneca would like to clarify that currently only COVAX, UNICEF and Serum Institute of India are our designated partners to make the vaccine available in Sri Lanka,” the letter added.

Presently the Sri Lankan government has received no confirmation as to when or from whom they can purchase the remaining stocks of vaccines. An official from SPC told Daily Mirror that to date, there was no confirmation on the AstraZeneca supply but reiterated that they were trying hard to secure the doses.

The current program which is underway to roll out the second jabs has come under severe criticism with those with connections and money having received the doses behind closed doors. The Health Ministry has clearly ignored the protocol of administering the doses according to the dates of the first jabs, resulting in the entire system going adhoc and desperate citizens lining up outside hospitals everyday seeking their second doses. (JAMILA HUSAIN)

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