Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawala
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla has said British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has sent Pune-based SII a legal notice over delays in the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Indian government is also aware of the legal notice, Poonawalla told Business Standard.
"I cannot comment on the legal notice as it is confidential, but we are examining all avenues to amicably manage and resolve legal disputes over contractual obligations that Serum Institute is not able to fulfil due to its prioritisation of Indian supplies," Poonawalla told the publication.
"Everyone has been very understanding so far. The government is evaluating what it can do to resolve the issue."
Also read - With rise in COVID-19 cases, India likely to make less availability of vaccines globally: Gavi
SII is manufacturing AstraZeneca-Oxford University's coronavirus vaccine, which is known as Covishield in India.
Recently, Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI alliance, said India will now make a smaller number of vaccines available to the world due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.
"We had expected, in March and April, about 90 million doses, and we suspect we'll get much, much less than that, and that is a problem," Berkley said.
Gavi and the UN-backed COVAX programme are working towards ensuring distribution fair and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to every country.
Also read: COVID-19 vaccine Q&As | Can India start vaccinating all, what is the current output, do we face shortage and other key queries answered
Poonawalla told Business Standard that SII will prioritise supplies to India over the next one or two months.
"We are hoping this is a temporary measure. Once the situation in India cools off, (vaccine) exports can pick up pace. In two months, we can review all things based on the situation in India, so that we end up doing what is good for India and the globe," he said.
Poonwalla also told NDTV that SII needed Rs 3,000 crore to ramp up capacity needed to scale up production by June.
Vaccine shortage has been a huge concern and has pitted the UK against the European Union. Countries like the US have been accused of vaccine nationalism and Canada has come under fire for "hoarding" vaccines as coronavirus cases continue to spiral in large parts of Europe and the US.