Drax International has not yet been paid for the consignment of Covid-19 drugs supplied to Zimbabwe and has since reviewed the cost to US$600 392, in line with relatively declining global prices following a marginal rise in production, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo has said.
His remarks follow claims from some sections of the media that Government had fast-tracked the payment of US$987 720 to Drax International under unclear circumstances, despite its prices being on the higher side.
Minister Moyo told journalists yesterday that no payment had been made to Drax International, adding that due diligence on the prices was done, but drug prices were naturally higher due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, and the grounding of most airlines resulting in operational airlines charging between US$18 and US$25 per kilogramme.
He said "Drax has not yet been paid" for what it supplied as negotiations in terms of pricing were ongoing.
"Following the negotiations which were done between the Ministry of Health and Drax representative, they agreed to reduce their prices (to US$600 392)," said Minister Moyo.
"During their initial quotation, most companies had closed globally and if opened, they had skeleton staff to ensure that social distances were observed in line with the WHO recommendations on managing Covid-19.
"The demand for the products then became very high worldwide and still continued to be very high as the populace is still required to wear masks and use sanitisers frequently."
The spike in demand led higher prices for anything related to Covid-19, while some countries had banned the exportation of products related to the pandemic, leaving Zimbabwe with nowhere to get products at a time when it was critical to move with speed to procure them so that in the event of a major outbreak, the country would be prepared.
However, since the time Drax International had been asked to supply the items, prices have been marginally declining, and some companies reopening leading to fairly low prices although freight charges remained high since many airlines are still grounded.