AstraZeneca sends legal notice to Serum Institute over delays in vaccine supply
New Delhi/IBNS: Serum Institute of India (SII) has been served a legal notice by AstraZeneca over vaccine supply delays, a Business Standard report said.
According to the report, Adar Poonawalla, who is the CEO of Serum Institute of India, is trying to resolve the issue "amicably".
The restriction on Covishield exports and the first claim deal with India are difficult to explain to other countries where the shots are sold at much higher cost, he told Business Standard.
Poonawalla said the SII has given 100 million doses to the Indian government and exported 60 million doses.
At its current capacity, the world's lagest vaccine manufacturer is producing 60 to 65 million doses per month.
Meanwhile, US ban on the exports of critical raw materials for vaccines has heightened the challenges in maintaining vaccine supply.
The ban imposed under US Defence Production Act is aimed at preserving raw materials for domestic manufacturer Merck & Co to produce Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, said a Reuters report.
SII is partnering with Novavax, an American vaccine development company, to manufacture another vaccine Covovax. Poonawalla has already said that ots launch is likely to be delayed to September in India.
In January SII had announced its launch in June.
US ban on raw materials will impact the production of Covovax by SII in India.
"From this month onwards, whatever we stockpile of Novavax would be half of what we could do, had it not been for US restrictions," Poonwalla said.
"This is as good as banning vaccines."
“This really needs to be looked at because if they are talking about building capacity all over the world, the sharing of these critical raw materials, which just can’t be replaced in a matter of six months or a year, is going to become a critical limiting factor,” he was quoted as saying in the Reutes report cited above.
SII has also sealed a deal to supply 200 million doses to COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as Covax, an effort led by World Health Organization, UNICEF and others to procure and distribute vaccines to poor countries.
Earlier, UNICEF said that it anticipates that Serum Institute will be able to resume full deliveries of AstaZeneca vaccine in May.