Rep: Why Is Selangor Paying More For Covid-19 Vaccines?

Bukit Gasing state assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran says calculations show the Selangor state government paid RM101.60 per dose for Sinovac from Pharmaniaga, double the federal government’s purchase at about RM50 per dose for all Covid-19 vaccines, including Sinovac.

KUALA LUMPUR, August 26 — Bukit Gasing state assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran today asked why the Selangor state government is paying double for Covid-19 vaccines compared to the federal government.

He said back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that the state paid RM101.60 per vaccine dose, double the federal rate of about RM50 per dose. This is based on round figures given by both former Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Selangor state executive councillor for public health Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud. 

According to Rajiv, Khairy told Parliament last month that the central government spent a total RM3.9 billion to procure 79.9 million vaccine doses, while Dr Siti Mariah recently said that RM127 million was spent to buy 1.25 million vaccines for Selangor’s vaccination programme.

The federal purchase involved at least three Covid-19 vaccine brands — namely Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford, and Sinovac — while Selangor’s direct purchase comprises only Sinovac vaccines procured from Pharmaniaga Bhd, the local distributor and fill-and-finish manufacturer of the Sinovac shot.

“Why is there a big cost disparity in the procurement? Why is Pharmaniaga selling the vaccines to the Selangor state government at a much higher rate based on the figures provided?

“I think this is unfair. Pharmaniaga should not take this opportunity to charge the state a higher rate. We didn’t buy 100 to 200 doses, we bought 1.25 million doses. I hope the state government can get an answer to this,” Rajiv said in his speech at the state legislative assembly today.

Separately, Rajiv said the state government should provide subsidised self-test kits for Selangor residents by purchasing the kits directly from suppliers and reselling them at subsidised rates.

“I hope the state government, given its financial capacity, can purchase these kits in bulk orders and subsidise them so that the people can get them at about RM10 per item. 

“I know first-hand that you can get RM12 per kit from suppliers, so the subsidy is only at RM2 per kit. Alternatively, the state government can call for open tender because there are currently 13 companies approved by the Medical Device Authority (MDA).

“I’m sure out of these 13 companies, they will compete to sell a million test kits to the state government at a competitive price, and you may end up paying less than RM12 per kit,” he said.

Rajiv said he managed to sell 3,000 subsidised test kits in less than a week. “The people want to get tested, but they just can’t afford to buy these kits at RM40 a piece in pharmacies.”

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