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Sunday, June 13, 2021

BMC tender not improper, but favour single global tender for country: Tope

Tope, who was part of a meeting held by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan with health ministers of six states, said the country needs to come up with a national policy for vaccine import.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
May 14, 2021 1:46:43 am
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope. (File Photo)

Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday spoke out against states having to issue their own tenders for procurement of Covid-19 vaccines from the global market and called for the Centre to set up a centralised vaccine procurement system by floating a single tender.

Tope, who was part of a meeting held by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan with health ministers of six states, said the country needs to come up with a national policy for vaccine import. The statement comes a day after the Shiv Sena-controlled BMC issued a global expression of interest for the procurement of one crore doses of vaccines for Mumbai.

Tope told mediapersons that a single tender would give more leverage to the country to negotiate pricing and delivery schedule of the vaccines.

Asked about BMC’s decision to float its own tender, he said: “The BMC has floated its own tender. (Minister) Aaditya Thackeray yesterday said that through this tender, we will get information about the pricing of vaccines. There is no harm in taking out such tenders but we need to keep in mind that there are some clearances that you need to get from the Centre when you float tenders for procuring and using vaccines sourced from outside. I won’t say that what the BMC did was improper but we are in favour of a single global tender for the whole country.”

During the meeting with Vardhan, Tope said that he had demanded that the government introduces rules to regulate the price of Amphotericin B, which is used to treat fungal infection mucormycosis, which is affecting Covid-19 patients. “We have 1,500 mucormycosis pateints in the state. We have asked that the quota of Amphotericin B be increased for the state. We have also sought an increase in manufacturing capacity of this drug and its price control,” he added.

Tope also raised concerns over the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) not giving clearance to companies that had entered into a contract with the Maharashtra government to supply remdesivir drug. “We had floated global tenders for remdesivir and given purchase orders to six companies. These companies are, however, not able to supply these drugs as the DCGI has not given import permission yet,” Tope said, adding that he has raised this issue with Vardhan.

The minister, meanwhile, added that while the state’s growth rate of Covid-19 cases now stood at 0.8 per cent compared to 1.5 per cent for the country, an increase in the number of cases in districts like Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Beed is a concern.

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