The Karnataka government has decided to reject two companies' bids to supply Russia's Sputnik vaccines, citing "very high rates" as the reason. The government's rejection of the two bids came on the same day that Dr Reddy's, a Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company, announced that it has "sole distribution rights" to the first 250 million doses of Sputnik and that it has no "partnership or collaboration" with any other entity to supply the vaccine.
Bulk MRO Industrial Supply Pvt Ltd of Mumbai responded to Karnataka's global tender by offering to supply the Sputnik V vaccine, while Thulasi Systems of Bengaluru said it could provide the single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine. Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan, the Covid-19 Task Force chairperson, told a leading English daily on Friday, "They have quoted very high rates. They will be rejected. I have asked officials to extend the time limit for participation in the tender, given that things are slowly settling down and production of vaccines is happening".
The state government has issued a global tender for two crore vaccines in four instalments of 50 lakh doses each to help boost the vaccination campaign, which has been hampered by a severe shortage of doses. For this purpose, the government has approved Rs 843 crore.
In a joint statement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Dr. Reddy's said it had initiated legal action against "unscrupulous elements committing fraud" over the Sputnik V vaccine. Following "several unsubstantiated reports and claims from various quarters in India on alleged tie-ups for the Sputnik V vaccine," the statement was released.
The company said it had not entered into any "partnership or collaboration with any party to supply the Sputnik V vaccine to residential associations, nor has the company authorised any third party or intermediary to supply the vaccine on its behalf in India."
Dr. Reddy's said it was still in direct talks with the government and the private sector about possible collaborations. "Dr. Reddy's has fully implemented cold storage logistics as well as vaccine track-and-trace arrangements," it said.