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Brazil suspends Covaxin deal worth $324 million over allegations of irregularities

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As per the deal, Bharat Biotech was to supply 20 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine

Brasilia: In wake of allegations of irregularities, the Brazilian government has suspended a $324 million contract with Bharat Biotech for purchase of its Covid-19 vaccine ‘Covaxin’. The deal for purchase of 20 million doses of the vaccine had been signed in February this year.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has come under lot of criticism over allegations that he approved the purchase of significantly higher priced Covaxin.  The prosecutor-general’s office had red-flagged the contract citing pending approval by the regulatory body, the higher prices and the speedy talks that had taken place for the purchase.

The authorities had questioned the Brazilian health ministry’s decision to agree to purchase Covaxin despite it not having cleared the regulatory hurdles and being priced at $15 per dose which was much higher than the amount paid for the Pfizer vaccine which had already got approval.

Bolsonaro had at that time clarified that no vaccine had been received and no money paid for it. He had also pledged to take action if any corruption was found in his government. The president is already under fire for his handling of the country’s Covid-19 situation.

“By recommendation of @CGUonline, we decided to temporarily suspend Covaxin contract. According to CGU’s preliminary analysis, there are no irregularities in the contract, but, due to compliance, the @minsaude opted to suspend the contract for further analysis,” Brazil health minister Marcelo Queiroga tweeted.

 

 

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