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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Firm claiming to supply AstraZeneca, Pfizer vaccines to Mumbai withdraws bid

Responding to the Mumbai civic body’s global expression of interest (EOI) of procurement of 10 million vaccines, Romania-based O2 Blue Energy SRL had submitted a bid claiming that it can facilitate supply of Pfizer-BioNtech and AstraZeneca vaccines.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
Updated: May 27, 2021 9:28:36 pm
The Romanian firm had also asked for advance payment for the supply of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, which was contrary to the BMC’s EOI clause. (File)

Two days after claiming it can supply Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines for Mumbai, a facilitator firm withdrew its bid on Thursday. In an email to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the firm withdrew the proposal without giving any reasons.

Responding to the Mumbai civic body’s global expression of interest (EOI) of procurement of 10 million vaccines, Romania-based O2 Blue Energy SRL had submitted a bid early Tuesday claiming that it can facilitate supply of Pfizer-BioNtech and AstraZeneca vaccines.

However, questions were raised on the authenticity of the firm’s claim as the same day US pharma company Pfizer-BioNtech issued a statement saying that it had not authorised anyone to import, market and distribute the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines. Earlier, Pfizer had said that it would only deal with the central government regarding vaccine procurement and supply.

“On Thursday, the firm sent an email informing us that they are withdrawing their bids. No reasons have been given for withdrawing the proposal,” said an official from the BMC. Now, the BMC is left with seven proposals, and all these firms say they can facilitate the supply of Sputnik V and Sputnik V Light.

The Romanian firm had also asked for advance payment for the supply of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, which was contrary to the BMC’s EOI clause.

BMC, meanwhile, had also approached Serum Institute of India (SII) and asked if they could supply vaccines. However, there was no response from the company.

“Last week, we sent an email with our EOI copy to SII seeking their participation in the tender. So far there is no reply from them,” said an official who is involved in the process.

The BMC had also written to Russian government entity Russian Direct Investment Firm (RDIF), the global commercialization partner for Sputnik V, for direct procurement of vaccines. The BMC is yet to receive any response.

Scrutiny of documents of the remaining seven bidders is on as the civic body first wants to ensure authenticity of companies and their claims of linkage with manufacturers. Civic officials said that they are hopeful of getting more bids as the last date of bid submission for EOI has been extended till June 1.

“We are verifying the claims of the firms. Many crucial documents like authorization letters from manufacturers are yet to be submitted. One round of interaction has been taken with five bidders. After establishing an authentic link with manufacturers further decisions will be taken,” an official said.

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