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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Delhi HC orders release of award money to help firm make vaccines

A division bench said the amount’s release will also remain subject to the undertaking given by Panacea Biotec that 20 per cent of the sale proceeds of Sputnik-V vaccine will be deposited by it with the High Court Registry.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi |
Updated: June 5, 2021 5:46:19 am
The SII has to submit a copy of the RCGM permission to import cell bank and virus stock and a copy of the RCGM permission to initiate research and development of viral vector vaccine Sputnik V, the sources said. (Photo: Reuters/Representational)

Pointing to the vaccine shortage in the country, the Delhi High Court Friday directed the Centre to release an arbitration tribunal-awarded amount of Rs 14 crore along with interest to Panacea Biotec to help it manufacture Sputnik-V vaccines, subject to the condition that it obtains permission from local authorities.

A division bench said the amount’s release will also remain subject to the undertaking given by Panacea Biotec that 20 per cent of the sale proceeds of Sputnik-V vaccine will be deposited by it with the High Court Registry.

Addressing Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, the court said, “Though according to the Government of India, one of the best ways to fight the pandemic is to vaccinate the public, yet there is a shortage of vaccines in India.”

The court passed the observations and order on the application filed by Panacea Biotec for the release of the money awarded to it in 2019 by an arbitral tribunal in a 2010 case related to the manufacture of influenza vaccines.

The company, which has collaborated with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, told the court in its application that it would be deprived of the opportunity to manufacture Sputnik V vaccine at the “fastest pace” in case the money awarded to it — Rs 14 crore with an interest of 12 per cent per annum from 2012 — is not released.

The court said in the order that it prima facie finds no justification for the Centre to insist on bridge trials for domestic manufacturing of Sputnik-V by Panacea Biotec when same is not taking place when it is imported from outside. It directed the Centre to consider Panacea Biotec’s application for emergency use and authorisation.

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