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Friday, June 25, 2021

Firm that approached BMC with Pfizer offer wants advance payment: Officials

In its global tender issued for procurement of the doses for Mumbai on May 12, the BMC had made it clear it would make the payment only after receiving the vaccines.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
May 27, 2021 1:22:32 am
A supply of Pfizer's vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is seen at Dekalb Pediatric Center. (Reuters)

A facilitator who has responded to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) global tender for Covid-19 vaccines, claiming he can supply one crore doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, wants payment in advance, officials said.

In its global tender issued for procurement of the doses for Mumbai on May 12, the BMC had made it clear it would make the payment only after receiving the vaccines. However, later in a corrigendum, it said that it can accept deviations in expression of interest (EOI) if the municipal commissioner finds the offer legitimate.

Responding to BMC’s EOI, the Romania-based O2 Blue Energy SRL submitted a bid early on Tuesday morning claiming it can facilitate supply of Pfizer-BioNtech and AstraZeneca vaccines. BMC officials said they are scrutinising each and every document submitted by the firm carefully to ensure the authenticity of the claim.

The firm’s response to BMC came in the name of a person called Harald Spitzer, they said. According to the website of O2 Blue Energy SRL, which also has offices in Canada and USA, Spitzer is its Director of European Operations.

“The firm has asked for advance payment for the supply of vaccines. But its documentation, including rates for vaccines, is incomplete. So, we will ask them to submit more papers. In the next couple of days, we will verify the firm’s claim and try to understand its ability to supply vaccines. Unless we are sure of the credibility of facilitators, no contract will be awarded,” said an official from BMC.

On Tuesday, after BMC’s announcement that it had received a response for the supply of Pfizer vaccines, the pharma company denied authorising anyone to import, market and distribute the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines.

The BMC’s global EOI for procurement of 10 million vaccine doses has received eight responses from various facilitator firms so far. Of these, six have shown interest in the supply of Sputnik V, one firm for Sputnik V Light and one for Pfizer-BioNtech. The civic body has extended the last date of submission of new bids by another week until June 1 even as it is yet to receive a response from any of the manufacturers.

On Tuesday, civic officials interacted with four facilitating firms through video conferencing. “Our concern is to establish their genuineness. We are looking for an established connection of these firms with authentic manufacturers,” said P Velrasu, Additional Municipal Commissioner of BMC.

According to the BMC’s EOI condition, selected firms should provide 1 crore doses in three weeks. However, all eight firms have said they would need more time than that.

Municipal commissioner I S Chahal said the civic body will also accept fresh responses, if any, coming from new companies in the next few days.

Earlier, Pfizer had declined to supply vaccines to the Punjab government, saying it will deal only with the Indian government.

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