Bharat Biotech has categorically denied any wrongdoing in the wake of a massive controversy in Brazil over a $324 million contract for Covaxin shots, which has been halted due to suspicions of irregularities. In a statement, Bharat Biotech said it had followed a ‘step-by-step’ approach towards contracts and regulatory approvals with Brazil.
‘In the specific case of procurement of Covaxin by the Ministry of Health, Brazil, since the first meetings during Nov 2020 until June 29, a step-by-step approach has been followed towards contracts, and regulatory approvals, during this eight-month-long process,’ Bharat Biotech said in a statement.
‘EUA received on June 4. As of June 29, Bharat Biotech has not received any advance payments nor supplied any vaccines to MOH Brazil. Bharat Biotech has followed a similar approach towards contracts, regulatory approvals and supplies in several countries worldwide, where Covaxin is being supplied successfully, said the Hyderabad-based vaccine maker.
Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, is facing allegations related to a purchase for 20 million Covaxin doses. Brazilian federal prosecutors have launched an inquiry into the agreement, noting the contract’s comparably high prices, fast talks, and pending regulatory clearances as red flags.