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Take credit note or use up Covaxin vials, hospitals told

Private hospitals in Bengaluru say pharmaceutical major Bharat Biotech has insisted on giving them a credit note in lieu of unused vaccines with which they can buy other products from the company. In some cases, it has insisted that the hospital somehow utilise the doses before the expiry date.

Hospitals have paid Rs 1,050 for a dose and have Rs 10 lakh to Rs 60 lakh tied up in unused doses. Hospitals say the pharma major can at least supply the vaccines to other countries if it takes them back now. But it won’t be able to export them if the doses are taken back just one month before the expiry date.

A standalone city hospital has bought 850 Covaxin doses at Rs 8.92 lakh.

“We cannot open the vial unless there are 10 people to take the jabs. If there are just one or two patients, we take their phone numbers to call them once there are 10 people. But when we call them back, they would have already taken the shot at a government centre,” he added.

Manipal Hospital’s 10 branches had 577 Covaxin doses worth Rs 6.05 lakh till Wednesday, and Narayana Health had 15,000 Covaxin doses worth Rs 1.57 crore as of November 2.

Guruprasad B R, director of strategy, Sparsh Hospital, said, “We have Rs 1.48 crore lakh tied up in 14,100 Covaxin doses. Bharat Biotech says it won’t take back the stock since the shelf life has been extended and insists that we sell the stock somehow. We won’t be able to sell this stock even by the renewed expiry date as there is simply no demand.” Deccan Herald