The Association of Private Healthcare Providers (APHI) that represents the medium and small hospitals had struck a deal to import J&J vaccine through a third party. However, J&J said it will only be negotiating with the government bodies and supranational organisations.
“At this time, the company is only negotiating with government bodies and supranational organizations (e.g., European Commission, African Union, Gavi/Covax) at a central level for vaccine procurement or purchase. We are not working with or through third parties for vaccine access during the current emergency pandemic period. The national governments may reach out to us directly with any procurement questions,” it said in a statement.
Last month, a logistics partner in the USA had proposed APHI to supply some doses of vaccine. On behalf of APHI, a third party (a private company) in India had even applied to the drug regulatory authority for an import licence to import J&J vaccines from the US. However, the arrival of J&J vaccine seems distant now.
Girdhar Gyani, director-general of APHI, said they are hopeful.
“The discussions are ongoing with the regulatory authority and the company. The Indian importer is in touch and we are hopeful that things will get sorted soon,” said Gyani. APHI had even negotiated a price for the vaccine and was procuring it at $25. Several leading private hospitals had shown interest in procuring the vaccine and the number of doses were expected to increase gradually.
“J&J recognises the role of the private sector in addressing the pandemic and, at a future date, we will inform stakeholders when other options for vaccine procurement become available,” it said.