Main opposition questions distributor company's profit in COVID-19 vaccine import

Turkey's main opposition CHP has asked the government how much profit the intermediary company Keymen Pharmaceuticals made through the COVID-19 vaccine import deal. The CHP's questioning came after Health Minister Fahrettin Koca refused to reveal the cost of the vaccines, citing the confidentiality agreement signed with China's SinoVac. 

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Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Murat Emir asked the government how much profit the distributor company made for the shipment of one million CoronaVac doses from China’s SinoVac.

"If the distributor company sells a million vaccines they got for free to the State Supply Office (DMO) for $12 million, hasn't the state given the middle company $12 million of profit? Do not beat around the bush!" Emir tweeted on Feb. 25. 

The debate surrounding the vaccine started when CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said earlier this week that the COVID-19 vaccinations imported from China had been declared free of charge and afterwards the State Supply Office (DMO) purchased them from intermediary Keymen Pharmaceuticals for a total of $12 million. 

The CHP had previously alleged that Keymen Pharmaceuticals is a company affiliated with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

In response to Kılıçdaroğlu's remarks, Health Minister Fahretin Koca said during a press conference on Feb. 26 that "no additional amount of money" had been given to the intermediary firm. 

The minister said that although SinoVac gave the vaccines to the intermediary firm without any cost, it was later reimbursed for the sale. 

“In a world where there is a war for vaccines, would a manufacturer company donate vaccines to a country for free, is there a rational explanation for this?” he asked. 

Koca however refused to reveal the cost of the vaccines, citing a confidentiality agreement signed with SinoVac. 

"We have bought the vaccine at a price lower than all prices paid by other countries," Koca said.