The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday allowed a private pharmaceutical company to sell 50,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine that the pharmaceutical firm had imported last month. Justice Nadeem Akhter of the Sindh High Court dismissed the government’s plea to restrict AGP Limited from selling the vaccine for a week until the government fixed its maximum price. At the onset of Thursday’s hearing, a lawyer representing the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) told the court AGP had imported the vaccine before the government could determine the price, saying the management of the company would have to return the extra amount if it sold Sputnik V for a rate higher than the one determined by the government. In response, the opposing counsel said the firm wanted to sell the vaccine for Rs12,226 in the local market and it was up to the people if they wanted to pay that price or not. Justice Akhter questioned why the government had failed to fix the price until now, despite the vaccine having been privately imported more than two weeks ago. “The third wave of the coronavirus pandemic is here, and we cannot stop the sale of vaccines,” he observed. “It should be administered to people at the earliest.” Earlier on Wednesday, another bench of the same court instructed the federal government to fix the price of the Russian vaccine within a week without issuing any directives about its sale. The Russian vaccine is the first to be imported by a private firm in Pakistan. Last week, the government allowed AGP to sell the vaccine for a maximum price of Rs8,449 ($54), but the company rejected the decision and claimed it had imported the product for a much higher rate. In February, Pakistan said it would allow private companies to import coronavirus vaccines and agreed to exempt such imports from price caps. However, the country’s health chief reversed the decision earlier this month, asking DRAP to recommend a price that would be approved by the cabinet. During Wednesday’s Sindh High Court proceedings, AGP accused the government of “deception” by first allowing private import of the Covid-19 vaccine and then making it impossible for the company to bring it to the local market. Transparency International Pakistan also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan last week, saying that the global price for Sputnik V was $10 per dose and the one recommended in Pakistan was 160 percent higher than the international rate.