Bharat Biotech axes Covid vaccine deal with Brazil's Precisa: Statement

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Bharat Biotech has terminated a Memorandum of Understanding to sell its Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin to Brazil’s Precisa Medicamentos, the Indian company said on Friday without disclosing the reason.

Bharat’s statement said it will continue to work with Brazilian health care regulator Anvisa to obtain all required approvals for the use of Covaxin in the country.

There have been allegations in Brazil of irregularities in the government’s efforts to buy 20 million doses of the vaccine using Precisa as an intermediary.

The deal to buy 20 million doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin shot has become a headache for Bolsonaro after whistleblowers went public with alleged irregularities. One health ministry official said he alerted the president about his concerns.

Bolsonaro, whose popularity has faded as Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll climbed past 500,000, has denied any wrongdoing, saying earlier he was not aware of any irregularities.

The claims have added impetus to the Opposition's impeachment drive and left the Brazilian leader's allies in Congress evaluating the costs of their support.

Testimony before the Brazil Senate committee from Luis Ricardo Miranda, the chief of the Health Ministry's import division, and his brother Luis Miranda, a lawmaker until recently allied with Bolsonaro, has turned up the heat even more.

The Health Ministry official said he faced pressure to greenlight the import of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin vaccine and that there were irregularities in the invoices particularly a $45-million upfront payment to a Singapore-based company.




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