Thonburi Group deal to bring in ‘Pfizer’ vaccine “60 per cent” complete

A deal by Thonburi Hospital Group to bring in Pfizer vaccines is now 60 per cent complete but there is still doubt over the government’s regulation, a representative from the Thonburi Healthcare Group (THG) told Thai Enquirer on Thursday.

“The remaining 40 per cent are things that are outside of our control and we cannot confirm anything until the deal is finalized,” said Dr Suwadee Puntpanich, a director at Thonburi Bamrungmuang Hospital.

Suwadee said that a deal could be completed as early as Thursday evening or could drag on depending on government regulators.

THG’s chairman, Dr Boon Vanasin, told local media this week that the group is working with a government agency that he cannot name yet to bring in 20 million doses the Pfizer vaccine with 5 million to arrive this month.

Suwadee said the identity of the state agency that is helping them to bring in the vaccine cannot be revealed yet and none of the import numbers and dates can be confirmed at the moment but said that the deal is expected to be complete.

“Until then, we cannot provide any more detail except for the ones that were given by Dr Boon earlier because of the non-disclosure agreement,” she said.

One quirk of the government’s vaccine procurement plan is that private hospitals cannot bring in the same vaccines that the government is securing – which means the American-produced Pfizer vaccine is off limits to private hospitals.

Thonburi has evaded this moratorium by securing vaccines from BioNTech, Pfizer’s research partner. Essentially, they are the same vaccines with different branding.

“Even if the vaccine is practically the same vaccine there is still a need to register it,” Suwadee said. “If the registration was done within one day like the Sinopharm and the Chulabhorn Royal Academy, then we can sell it to other private hospitals as well.”

Following the news of the deal, shares of THG had jumped almost 16 per cent to 34.50 baht in the morning session then settled at 33.50, up 12.6 per cent, as of 11.12 am with a transaction value of 325 million baht.

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