Thonburi Healthcare Group (THG) chairman, Boon Vanasin, yesterday admitted his attempt to strike a deal to secure 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech is likely to fall through.
Speaking on the Inside Thailand talk show yesterday, Dr Vanasin said a state agency with the authority to import the vaccine had tried to secure several deals for him with different agents for 20 million doses of the vaccine.
Refusing to name the state agency, he said it had tried its best to negotiate the deals. However, the efforts are unlikely to succeed since three months had now passed and he had forfeited two deposits put down for the vaccine purchases.
“I think it’s 90% unlikely to be successful. They [the state agency] intended to help us seal the deal but they were unable to overcome problems,” he said.
The doctor claimed it was his brother who had contacted the Defence Ministry, not him. He was referring to a media report about a claim that THG was in talks with the ministry over an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine import deal, which was dismissed by both THG and the ministry.
Dr Vanasin also claimed he contacted several other state agencies to import the vaccine on his behalf, including Siriraj Hospital.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), meanwhile, has asked the THG and Dr Vanasin to clarify the reported deal with the Defence Ministry to import the Pfizer vaccine.
The SEC also referred to Dr Vanasin’s claim that he had lost a deposit of 500-600 million baht over a contractual violation.
The SEC feared this comment could negatively affect investors and share prices. The commission gave THG and Dr Vanasin a week to explain the matter.
Also yesterday, a Defence Ministry source said that aside from the five state agencies authorised to import the vaccine — Chulabhorn Royal Academy, the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation, the Department of Disease Control, the National Vaccine Institute and the Thai Red Cross Society — the Defence Pharmaceutical Factory (DPF) also has a licence to do so, but not for commercial purposes.