Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid receives a dose of coronavirus vaccine in Islamabad on Monday. Twitter photo
Tariq Butt, Correspondent / Reuters
A private company in Pakistan will begin receiving shipments of China's CanSino Biologics COVID-19 vaccine this week for commercial sale, an official at the company's local partner told Reuters on Monday.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) has notified a formula for maximum retail prices of COVID-19 vaccines.
A Drap notification said that two formulas have been approved for sale of vaccine with 40 per cent mark-up for companies and additional 15 per cent for retailers/hospitals.
In the meantime, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed got himself vaccinated with SinoPharm's COVID-19 vaccine at a government hospital in Islamabad. He later said that the intensity of the disease was increasing in Pakistan and urged citizens to not delay their vaccinations.
Pakistan, one of the first countries in the world to allow private imports of COVID-19 vaccines, has already received a batch of the Russian Sputnik vaccine for commercial sale.
"We expect the first 10,000 doses to come on March 25, and 100,000 next month and 200,000 the month after," said Hassan Abbas, an official of AJ Pharma, CanSino's local partner, which will be importing the vaccine.
Abbas said the commercial name of the vaccine would be "Convidecia." Five hospitals that took part in clinical trials for the vaccine will be provided the doses for commercial sale, he added.
The first formula for imported vaccines, in finished form, states that the trade price will be equal to landed cost plus 40 per cent mark-up.
According to the second formula, which is for imported vaccines in bulk form and local repack, the trade price will be equal to landed cost plus packaging cost and 40 per cent mark-up for companies. Moreover, retailers/institutions will get 15 per cent of the price as commission.
Pakistan is in the process of vaccinating frontline healthcare workers and citizens over the age of 60 free of charge using Sinopharm doses donated by China.
The commercial administration of vaccines is yet to begin as the government settles pricing issues for the private sector, after reversing its decision to allow uncapped prices.
CanSino Biologics and Pakistan's Health Minister Faisal Sultan did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Pakistan is in the midst of a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections, and on Saturday reported the highest number of positive cases in day since July last year.
In the meantime, after reducing the number of inbound flights to 20 per cent as part of measures to halt the spread of COVID-19 from May 5 to 20, Pakistan has also slashed the number of foreign airlines’ flights to 120 per week.
"The forum reviewed the implementation of SOPs during Eid holidays and expressed its satisfaction. It also appreciated the efforts of all stakeholders, especially the cooperation rendered by the public across the country..."
"The vaccine will be single dose and has been manufactured by the CanSino Biologics whose single dose injectable vaccine is already being used in Pakistan. Nasal vaccines are usually given to children but there will be no age limit for it..."
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"We have given at least one dose of the vaccine to more than 91 per cent (of adults) and 39 per cent have got both,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters. "There was also a sharp decrease in hospitalisations and the rate of reinfection is also on the decline..."
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The Public Prosecution indicated that according to Article 16 of Federal Decree-Law No. 5 of 2012 regarding combating information technology crimes and its amendments, a penalty of imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years and a fine of no less than Dhs250,000 and not more than Dhs500,000, or either of these two penalties for Blackmail or threaten another person to get him to do or abstain from doing an act using a computer network or an information technology means.