Health minister refuses to disclose vaccine price

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Vaccines have been purchased at competitive prices to ensure honesty and transparency, assures the state minister

In a parliamentary session on Thursday, Health Minister Zahid Maleque refused to disclose the expenses incurred against Covid-19 vaccines purchase, citing a non-disclosure agreement with the vaccine producer.

He said: “Due to the non-disclosure agreement with the manufacturing company, it will not be proper to disclose the expenditure regarding vaccines in the Parliament.”

In response to a question from Abul Kalam Azad, ruling party lawmaker from Jamalpur-1 constituency, on how many vaccines for coronavirus had been collected and how much money had been spent on them, the health minister declined to disclose the cost.
Zahid said: “Vaccines have been purchased at competitive prices to ensure honesty and transparency.”

As many as 21,17,30,000 doses of vaccine have been purchased so far.

Of these, 7,70,00,000 doses of Sinopharm and 7,51,00,000 doses of Sinovac came from China, while 3,00,00,000 Covishield vaccines came from India and 2,97,20,000 doses of Sinopharm came under the Covax scheme.

However, the health ministry announced Covid-19 treatment costs on July 9 in the media.

It was said that 1,01,50,000 doses of vaccine had been purchased up to that time. Each dose cost Tk3000, taking the total expenditure to Tk3,045 crore in total.
Responding to a question from Ali Azam, of Bhola-2 constituency, the health minister said a total of 29,44,10,000 doses of vaccine had been sourced.

“A total of 138,41,38,054 doses have been administered till November. Among those, 5,13,32,864 doses are administered as first doses and 3,28,05,190 people are given both doses,” he added.

Replying to a question from Dhaka-7 lawmaker Haji Selim, Maleque claimed the government had been successful in dealing with malnutrition, adding that the government did not have any specific statistics on malnutrition.

According to the minister, low weight due to malnutrition among women aged between 15 and 49 was 12% in 2017-18 while in 2007 it was 30%.
In response to a question from Nurunnabi Chowdhury of Bhola-3 constituency, he said that till August 2021, some 12,592 drug stores had been identified as not having drug licenses.

Responding to a question from Kazim Uddin Ahmed of Mymensingh-11 constituency, the health minister said his ministry had suspended the production licenses of 46 pharmaceutical companies.

Of these, 17 are homoeopathic, four are herbal, five are allopathic, six are unani and 14 are ayurvedic medicine companies.

Replying to a question by BNP lawmaker Golam Mohammad Siraj of Bogra-6 constituency, the health minister said the government had taken an initiative to set up separate units at each district-level hospital of the country to ensure medical services for drug addicts.
Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury presided over the question and answer session.

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