Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla said that UK headquartered pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has sent a legal notice to the manufacturing partner Pune-based SII over delays in the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I cannot comment on the legal notice as it is confidential, but we are examining all avenues to amicably manage and resolve legal disputes over contractual obligations that Serum Institute is not able to fulfil due to its prioritisation of Indian supplies,” Poonawalla told Business Standard.
Reports said that the notice comes after Serum institute delayed shipment of vaccines to the UK and later didn’t meet its obligations to other countries as a part of the Covax programme. It added that the Indian government is also aware of the legal notice.
“Everyone has been very understanding so far. The government is evaluating what it can do to resolve the issue,” Poonawalla added.
Meanwhile the Serum Institute has attributed the delay to the centre’s decision to halt the export of the Covid vaccine exports, while Adar Poonawalla said that SII would prioritise the domestic needs temporarily over the next one or two months.
“We are hoping this is a temporary measure. Once the situation in India cools off, (vaccine) exports can pick up pace. In two months, we can review all things based on the situation in India, so that we end up doing what is good for India and the globe,” he said.
Recently, Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI alliance, said India will now make a smaller number of vaccines available to the world due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.
“We had expected, in March and April, about 90 million doses, and we suspect we’ll get much, much less than that, and that is a problem,” Berkley said.
Gavi and the UN-backed COVAX programme are working towards ensuring distribution fair and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to every country.
Poonawalla also told NDTV that SII needed Rs 3,000 crore to ramp up capacity needed to scale up production by June.