Beximco Pharmaceuticals has made a profit of Tk 77 on each dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine it has imported from India. It has made this profit after covering all other expenses. Beximco Pharma is the only company in Bangladesh that has signed an agreement to import the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by India’s Serum Institute. This vaccine is being imported under a tripartite agreement between the Bangladesh government, Serum Institute and Beximco Pharma.

Under the tripartite agreement, Beximco is to import 30 million (3 crore) doses of the Covid vaccine from India’s Serum Institute. The company has brought in seven million (70 lakh) doses of the 30 million so far. Beximco Pharma provided the Bangladesh government with these vaccines in January and February this year. All 30 million doses were to have been brought in within six months, but India has suspended export of the vaccine. As a result, no vaccine of Serum Institute is arriving for the time being.

Beximco Pharma, a company registered with the share market, has published its unaudited financial statement for the first three months of the year, that is January-March. The report appears on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) and Chattogram Stock Exchange (CSE) websites.

The report on the DSE website mentions that in January-March the company made a profit of Tk 383.7 million (Tk 38 crore 37 lakh). This profit was made after covering all other costs. That means Tk 76.74, almost Tk 77, has been made in profit per dose of the vaccine.

While the company has provided the government with seven million (70 lakh) doses of the vaccine, this profit covers that of five million (50 lakh). Explaining the matter to Prothom Alo, the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Mohammad Ali Newaz on Sunday morning said, “We have supplied the government with seven million vaccines, but the income from five million has been taken into account for the January-March period. Another two million vaccines were supplied in April. That is why the revenue from that has not been added to this quarter.”

Meanwhile, alongside the revenue from the vaccines, Beximco’s running pharmaceutical business is booming too. Its cash incentive has increased too with increased pharmaceutical imports.

The company’s profits have gone up by almost 62.5 per cent compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. In the first three months of the year, its earnings per share (EPS) has increased to Tk 3.28. In the corresponding period of the previous year, 2020, this was Tk 2.02. That means, in a matter of one year, the company’s EPS has increased by Tk 1.26, a large chunk which has come from the additional revenue from the Covid vaccine. Added to this is the pharmaceutical business and profit from export growth.

The tripartite agreement for the supply of Covid vaccines had not been published by any of the parties for so long. As a result, there had been no information on how much profit Beximco had made on the vaccines brought in from India. BNP and other political parties had been demanding that the agreement be made public. There had also been criticism about Beximco being the sole importer of the vaccine. Now with the vaccine supply coming to a halt, the criticism has mounted.

* This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ayesha Kabir