Brazil police raid pharmaceutical firm amid Senate vaccine probe

·1 min read

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Brazilian federal police raided the offices of Precisa Medicamentos, a Brazil-based pharmaceutical company, on Friday as part of a probe into potential irregularities in procuring COVID-19 vaccines from India's Bharat Biotech, according to a statement from the senators handling the investigation.

The raid was authorized by Supreme Court Justice Dias Toffoli. Precisa, who used to represent Bharat in Brazil before the allegations surfaced, on Friday denied wrongdoing and said it is cooperating with the high-profile Senate probe.

The raids follow evidence raised by a Senate inquiry probing the federal government's plan to purchase 20 million doses of the Covaxin vaccine made by Bharat.

The contract was signed in February but later suspended. [L2N2OE1H2]

"The Senate inquiry sought in every way to obtain information from the company and the Health Ministry, with no success," according to a note sent by the senators regarding the federal police operation. "Because of this, it was necessary to use this legal instrument."

Precisa pushed back, saying on Friday that the company has submitted documents to the senators handling the probe. It also said three company representatives gave testimony before the Senate inquiry committee.

(Reporting by Eduardo Simões; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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