SEC demands THG clarify claim of Pfizer procurement deal with Defence Ministry
Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has demanded that Thonburi Healthcare Group’s (THG) chairman and CEO clarifies a press report that the company is to sign a deal with the Defence Ministry this week to procure the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine.
THG chairman Dr. Boon Vanasin told Thai online media, “Kom Chad Luek” on Tuesday, about the vaccine deal with the Defence Ministry that will be signed later this week, but declined to specify the actual amount to be procured, citing a contractual prohibition and a warning about share manipulation from the SEC.
Dr. Boon also claimed, in the same interview, that the THG had lost 500-600 billion baht in deposit payments for previous contractual violations.
Dr. Boon’s claim was immediately denied by spokesman for the Defence Ministry, Lt-Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich, who said that neither the ministry, nor any agency under the ministry, has a plan or has agreed with a private entity to procure the Pfizer vaccine, adding that the Defence Ministry has never directly contacted Pfizer (Thailand) Limited.
On Tuesday night, THG secretary Suvadee Panpanich sent an urgent letter to the Stock Exchange of Thailand manager and director, denying that Dr. Boon had told the media about the vaccine deal with the Defence Ministry.
THG also said that the healthcare group is, however, still trying to procure mRNA and other vaccines for the Thai people.
Today (Wednesday), the SEC sent two urgent letters. One was addressed to Dr. Boon, in his capacity as THG chairman, and the other was to the THG’s CEO, demanding clarification of Dr. Boon’s claim within seven days.
The SEC said, in the letters, that the conflicting reports about a vaccine deal between THG and the Defence Ministry may cause misunderstanding and may affect the rights and benefits of shareholders or their investment decisions or affect the THG share price.
In mid-July, Dr. Boon claimed THG was in the process of closing a deal to procure 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with a government agency, which he declined to name. The claim was later denied by Pfizer-BioNTech and the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation.
THG has, to date, been unable to produce any documentary evidence about a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deal.
Only five agencies in Thailand are authorized to import COVID-19 vaccines. They are the Disease Control Department, the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, the National Vaccine Institute, the Thai Red Cross Society and the Chulabhorn Royal Academy.