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Thursday, December 1, 2022

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla bullied and threatened by ‘powerful men’ into shifting base to UK from Bharat

SII (Serum Institute of India) CEO Adar Poonawalla has moved to the UK albeit temporarily after facing threats from powerful people since opposition members including Rahul Gandhi kept rumor-mongering against Poonawalla.

Reports have emerged stating that India Today’s Rahul Kanwal has revealed the involvement of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena and its goons in the incident.

OpIndia says:

While conversing with his colleague covering election results, the anchor got into a monologue describing the COVID-19 situation and temporary migration of Adar Poonawalla. It is then that Rahul Kanwal revealed, “…And I actually saw this. He (Adar Poonawalla) sent me some videos of some Shiv Sena locals showing up outside his factory, giving him the choicest of gaalis (abuses) and saying ‘humko Pehle do’ (give us the vaccines first) and this is bizarre.”

To cover up, Rahul Kanwal and ‘serial apology issuer’ Rajdeep Sardesai bashed the supremos of the Bhartiya Janta Party for focusing on West Bengal elections and allowing ‘Kumbh’ to take place when they should have allegedly focused on the vaccine policy and controlling the corona situation.

Partaking in the blame game or what can be seen as an attempt to whitewash, Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi congratulated Adar Poonawalla for his service and saying those in power should be held accountable. Her Tweet read, “Kudos to @SerumInstIndia and @adarpoonawalla for all that they have been doing for the nation. No price quoted is decided without GoI approval. Sad he has been made the misplaced target of attack without holding those in power accountable.”

In his interview to The Times, Poonawalla said that he is planning to start production in other countries in order to meet the supply commitments. Poonawalla, who left for the UK along with his wife and children 8 days ago just before Britain banned travelers from Bharat, also highlighted how he’s being threatened by powerful people.

Poonawalla stated that powerful men including Chief Ministers and heads of business conglomerates and other influential people have been contacting him to demand that they be provided the vaccination first. Poonawalla has been quoted as saying:

Threats are an understatement. The level of expectations and aggression is really unprecedented. It’s overwhelming. Everyone feels they should get the vaccine. They can’t understand why anyone else should get it before them.

They are saying if you don’t give us the vaccine, it’s not going to be good…It’s not the foul language, it’s the tone. It’s the implication of what they might do if I don’t comply. It’s taking control.

I’m staying here (Britain) for extended times because I don’t want to go back to that situation. Everything falls on my shoulders but I can’t do it alone…I don’t want to be in a situation where you are trying to do your job, and just because you can’t supply the needs of X, Y and Z you really don’t want to guess what they are going to do.

It must be recalled that Poonawalla was constantly bullied regarding the price of Covishield following which he was forced to reduce the same. Initially, SII had priced the vaccine at INR 400 per dose for state governments, while INR 600 per dose for private hospitals.

OpIndia had reported how Congress had been spreading lies and attacking Covishield by making baseless allegations. Their report dated 22 April said:

The Congress party and its leaders seem to have a special animosity against India’s leading industries and crucial manufacturers for some unknown reason. Congress has been relentlessly attacking ‘Made In India’ vaccines. After spreading baseless claims, and rumors about Covaxin, yesterday, Congress and Rahul Gandhi had tried to castigate the Serum Institute of India and its CEO Adar Poonawalla as greedy corporates who are looting the public.

Today, Congress continued its lies. Tweeting from its official handle, the party claimed that the Serum Institute has fixed three different prices for the Covishield vaccines for supplying to the Central government, state governments, and private hospitals.

The article also busts the lies spread by Congress:

In a detailed talk with CNBC, Serum CEO Adar Poonawalla had explained that the company has been supplying the Covishield doses to the government of India (GOI) at the discounted rate of Rs 200 only for the first 100 million doses as agreed by both parties, as the SII had promised to supply the first 100 million doses at the lower rate. They had told earlier that they will sell the next doses at the price of Rs 1000.

“We’ve given a special price of Rs 200 for the first 100 million doses only to Government of India on their request that we want to support common man, vulnerable, poor, healthcare workers. After that we’ll be selling it at Rs 1000 in private markets,” the SII CEO had said in January.

However, after the first 100 million doses, the GOI had signed another contract with SII to procure another 110 million doses at the discounted price of Rs 200. After the said 110 million doses are delivered, the company will charge GOI Rs 400/ dose, the same price at which it has said it will sell to the state governments.

Hence, SII’s announcement of a lower rate for the Centre is only for the 110 million doses, not after that. After the current ‘under contract’ 110 million doses are delivered, SII will sell to GOI at Rs 400 per dose, same as states. Both the center and states will have to purchase the vaccine doses at the same price. SII is selling to private hospitals at a slightly higher price, but compared to other available vaccines, the prices are still very low. The company cannot keep producing vaccines at loss, as Poonawalla had explained.

In fact, even the country’s apex court had stepped in and demanded answers from the central government in this regard. A Hindustan Times report said:

The current vaccination policy would “result in a detriment to the right to public health,” said the Supreme Court as it put the central government in the dock over differential pricing of the vaccines between the Centre and states.

A bench, headed by justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, maintained that “there are several aspects of the vaccine pricing policy adopted by the Central government which require that policy be revisited,” in particular the rationale behind letting the manufacturers determine the vaccine prices for states and other private entities.

The question that needs to be asked is are political parties and judiciary qualified enough to step into the domain of vaccine pricing. And ‘powerful men’ hounding a top business executive out of the country speaks volumes about the kind of leadership of the country.

(Featured Image Source: Adar Poonawala Twitter Account)

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