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Russia tries to take undue advantage from Bangladesh

Sputnik V, Russia, COVID vaccine

Health

Russia tries to take undue advantage from Bangladesh

Russia clearly is trying to take undue advantage from Bangladesh as the country is currently facing challenges in getting COVID vaccine from India. Although Bangladesh has paid India’s Serum Institute a huge amount of cash, the manufacturer of AstraZeneca vaccine has already failed in maintaining its contractual obligation with Bangladesh. On the other hand, owner of Serum Institute, Adar Poonawalla has already fled India and it is learned from credible source that he is planning to live in Britain at least until the end of 2021. Poonawalla was under pressure of several countries, from which his company had received hundreds of millions of dollars against written commitment of supplying COVID vaccine.

Kremlin wants to put Bangladesh into its vaccine trap

Bangladesh health ministry has raised objection to some conditions or sections of the supply agreement in procuring ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine from Russia. The health ministry said national interests will be harmed if the draft agreement sent by RDIF is accepted.

The Russian government company, Management Company of Russia Direct Investment (RDIF), prepared the draft agreement.

It has meanwhile raised objections to eight sections and sub-sections.

The officials concerned think there is scope to bargain as the prices of the vaccine is extremely high. It may be mentioned here that, Russia is selling Sputnik V vaccine to other countries at a rate ranging between US$ 7-9, while it is demanding US$ 20 from Bangladesh.

The foreign ministry sources said as part of vaccine supply process, RDIF has sent a draft agreement of 18 pages.

Earlier, the health services division of the health ministry and Management Company of Russia Direct Investment (RDIF) inked a deal of confidentiality on 25 April.

According to the agreement, Bangladesh will not be able to disclose confidential information to any third party. Clinical data and facts and figures and content of agreement have been described as confidential. A copy of the draft agreement was handed over to the Bangladesh ambassador in Russia.

According to sub section 2.4 of supply agreement, ‘component-1’ and ‘component-2’ meaning two doses of vaccines will be sent separately. But it is not clarified whether their specification is separate or not.

Besides, the agreement says the seller will not be liable if the supply is delayed due to the low production and crisis of raw materials. Rather the deadline will be extended until the production is raised adequately.

Sub-section 2.7 mentions it is mandatory to purchase the entire amount of vaccines committed at the primary stage. In this case the vaccines must be accepted even if the supply is delayed.

Sub-section 2.8 mentions advance payment has to be made for 50 per cent of total purchasing price ahead of the first consignment. But there is no recompense if the suppliers fail to supply in time.

According to section 5, all information of side effects for using vaccines has to be shared with the sellers. However, the buyers have to bear all liabilities of side effects. In this regard, questions have been raised why the information has to be shared with the suppliers if they do not shoulder the liabilities.

In section 6, the ‘liability’ of suppliers will be maximum 1 dollar or not more than 10 per cent of purchasing price if the vaccine is not effective or less effective. The health ministry questions, “How has this been specified?” Is it not logical to specify the maximum liability whereas millions of dollars have to be paid?

In section 9, no action can be taken against the suppliers if they violate the agreement.

In sub-section 10.3, in some circumstances the suppliers have been given the right to close the agreement. But the buyer has no such scope.

About the objection of the health ministry, chairman of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU)’s pharmacology department, Sayedur Rahman, said highest priority has to be given to national interests in such an agreement.

It has meanwhile raised objections to eight sections and sub-sections.

The officials concerned think there is scope to bargain as the prices of the vaccine is extremely high.

The foreign ministry sources said as part of vaccine supply process, RDIF has sent a draft agreement of 18 pages.

Earlier, the health services division of the health ministry and Management Company of Russia Direct Investment (RDIF) inked a deal of confidentiality on 25 April.

According to the agreement, Bangladesh will not be able to disclose confidential information to any third party. Clinical data and facts and figures and content of agreement have been described as confidential. A copy of the draft agreement was handed over to the Bangladesh ambassador in Russia.

According to sub section 2.4 of supply agreement, ‘component-1’ and ‘component-2’ meaning two doses of vaccines will be sent separately. But it is not clarified whether their specification is separate or not.

Besides, the agreement says the seller will not be liable if the supply is delayed due to the low production and crisis of raw materials. Rather the deadline will be extended until the production is raised adequately.

Sub-section 2.7 mentions it is mandatory to purchase the entire amount of vaccines committed at the primary stage. In this case the vaccines must be accepted even if the supply is delayed.

Sub-section 2.8 mentions advance payment has to be made for 50 per cent of total purchasing price ahead of the first consignment. But there is no recompense if the suppliers fail to supply in time.

According to section 5, all information of side effects for using vaccines has to be shared with the sellers. However, the buyers have to bear all liabilities of side effects. In this regard, questions have been raised why the information has to be shared with the suppliers if they do not shoulder the liabilities.

In section 6, the ‘liability’ of suppliers will be maximum 1 dollar or not more than 10 per cent of purchasing price if the vaccine is not effective or less effective. The health ministry questions, “How has this been specified?” Is it not logical to specify the maximum liability whereas millions of dollars have to be paid?

In section 9, no action can be taken against the suppliers if they violate the agreement.

In sub-section 10.3, in some circumstances the suppliers have been given the right to close the agreement. But the buyer has no such scope.

About the objection of the health ministry, chairman of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU)’s pharmacology department, Sayedur Rahman, said highest priority has to be given to national interests in such an agreement.

Earlier, in a letter issued on 2 May, foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen requested health secretary Lokman Hossain Mia to sign the deal immediately. His letter mentioned some steps in the process of bringing vaccines and the Russian vaccine is expected to reach the country after all these steps are completed.

The foreign secretary said that the government of Bangladesh has to pay in advance the price of the first consignment of vaccines manufactured by Russia. Arrival of vaccines is possible within five to seven days after specification approval and advance payment. RDIF has said that it will be possible to supply one million (10 lakh) doses of vaccine in each consignment.

Given the circumstances, foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen has urged the concerned authorities to sign the supply agreement and take necessary steps on an emergency basis. The foreign minister talked with the prime minister in this regard.

Meanwhile, speaking to the media regarding the import of the coronavirus vaccine from Russia, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said, “We have urged the health ministry to take quick steps. They stall every document sent to them, and it is true in every aspect. We’ve accomplished all the arrangements. If they do not sign the agreement quickly, we will miss this chance”.

It is rumored that the health ministry is controlled by organized mafia syndicates thus turning it into an epicenter of corruption and loot. Especially during the pandemic crisis, a section of health ministry officials are making millions through numerous forms of corruption.

On 27 April, Bangladesh approved emergency use of Russian manufactured Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V.

A committee formed by the health ministry gave the approval at a meeting of the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA), paving the way for import and use of the vaccine in the country.

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Contents published under this byline are those created by the news team of WeeklyBlitz

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