While responding to a letter by Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) the ministry of national health services (NHS)said on Wednesday that the federal government’s decision to allow private imports of Covid-19 vaccines was a “deliberate policy tool”.
In the letter, NHS Secretary Aamir Ashraf Khawaja said that the government allowed private imports so those population segments which were not part of the government’s priority inoculation campaign could be catered to.
“It was a well concerned decision of the federal government to allow the private sector to import vaccines as the national vaccination priorities favoured the healthcare workers and the elderly, involving some lag in reaching other segments of the society.”
Khawaja also added in the letter that initially there had been no prices set for the imported vaccines since there was no reference price available according to the law but later, a provision of the Drug Pricing Policy under was applied to Covid vaccines “to keep a check on prices instead of leaving it solely to free-market dynamics”.
The government’s response comes two days after Transparency International Pakistan, in a letter penned by Justice (r) Nasira Iqbal, had asked the prime minister to review the policy of allowing private imports and cancel it altogether, as across the globe, governments were procuring vaccines and administering it to their citizens for free.