Bangladesh has an opportunity to get exemption from the export ban imposed by the Government of India according to the agreement signed by Beximco Pharmaceuticals with the Serum Institute of India.
However, before applying for it, the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) must approve the use of the Covidshield vaccine invented by Oxford-Astrazeneca in case of emergency.
A senior Beximco Group official, speaking on condition of anonymity, today told Business Standard that "Bangladesh is likely to get an exemption from the ban, as per understanding among the parties involved," adding, "If Bangladesh drug regulatory body grants registration to the vaccine, Bangladesh can ask India for an exemption from the ban."
Beximco officials said Beximco's agreement with the Serum Institute has been expedited based on discussions at various levels of government between the two countries.
Although the Government of India was not a government party in this agreement, it had the verbal consent of the Government of India.
Therefore, if Bangladesh tries in the diplomatic process, it can get relief from the sanctions.
For example, India supplied some onions to Bangladesh even after banning onion exports.
According to the agreement signed between Serum Institute, Beximco and the government of Bangladesh, 3 crore doses of vaccine were to be given to Bangladesh in six months at the rate of 5 million doses per month from the first month of production.
Beximco will appeal to India for an exemption from the export ban if the Department of Drug Administration approves the Serum vaccine.
As per the agreement, Beximco is supposed to bring the vaccine from Serum Institute and give it to the Bangladesh government. So Beximco will make every effort to get the vaccine.
However, Beximco will not be able to request the Government of India until the vaccine is approved by the DGDA. In that case, Bangladesh will have to wait for the approval of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Last August, when Bangladesh was about to approve the vaccine trial of China's Synovac, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited Bangladesh. In the context of his visit, the vaccine agreement of Bangladesh with Serum Institute was accelerated.
Beximco officials said they were discussing vaccine imports to Bangladesh due to the personal ties of Beximco's senior boss with the CEO of the Serum Institute.