Sputnik V production in India in a spot due to sanctions against Russia / RDIF

G. Naga Sridhar |PT Jyothi Datta |Monika Yadav | Updated on: Mar 01, 2022

The war and sanctions are expected to halve present demand for Sputnik V, even as RDIF pitches its single dose Sputnik Light as a universal booster

Hyderabad/Mumbai/Delhi, March 1 

Global sanctions against the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) have cast a long shadow on the production of Sputnik V from India, the second largest base for the Covid19 vaccine outside of Russia.

RDIF, the sovereign wealth fund of the Russian Federation and its chief have been named in the United States sanctions list, following Russia’s attack on Ukraine. And this has jeopardized plans for increased local production and exports, vaccine industry insiders told Business Line, on conditions of anonimity given the sensitive nature of the issue.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has a tie-up with RDIF, and is the brand custodian of Sputnik V in India. RDIF has separate production tie-ups for Sputnik V with Hetero, Gland Pharma, Virchow Biotech, Serum Institute of India, Wockhardt, Morepen, Panacea Biotec and Strides. Separately, Shilpa Medicare also has a tie-up with DRL for Sputnik V. Totally, RDIF’s production pacts with India are for over 1100 million doses,and DRL is to market the first 250 million doses in India.

Universal booster

The war and sanctions are expected to halve present demand for Sputnik V, even as RDIF pitches its single dose Sputnik Light as a universal booster. Local pick-up for Sputnik V had been under-whelming even before the war, a local producer said, pointing to its high price and supply issues. At least four local producers said they were halving production or stopping temporarily, following the war.

The development comes, even as the World Health Organization reportedly evaluates the vaccine for subsequent speedy approvals in other countries.

Payment woes

Despite medicines and vaccines usually being kept outside the ambit of sanctions, the blocking of key Russian banks from Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) system adds to the uncertainties. While initial payments may have already been tied-up, subsequent transactions could face trouble, a pharma industry veteran said.

RDIF meanwhile clarified, it had “never involved in any political activities, does not interact in any way with Ukraine and follows the world’s best investment practices, which has been acknowledged by all its international partners as well by national regulators.” The Fund added, it would “use all available means to protect its rights, reputation and lawful interests, including seeking judicial recourse in relevant jurisdictions.”

Published on March 01, 2022
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