KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 31): Mestron Holdings Bhd has issued a clarification to say that it did not obtain approval or a clearance letter from the Ministry of Health (MoH) to purchase or distribute Covid-19 vaccines in Malaysia.

Instead, it clarified that its intention is to explore and venture into the vaccine distribution business by partnering with China-based Zhongyu Yexing (Chengdu) Industrial Co Ltd.

The steel pole maker said this in a statement today after the MoH denied granting approval or issuing letters of permission to private parties for this purpose.

MoH, in a statement yesterday, refuted news reports citing Mestron as saying it had received a letter of permission from the ministry to begin the negotiation process.

"Only the ministry has the authority to manage access to and the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines.

"It is in line with the ministry's duty in managing medical affairs via its agencies, namely the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Division," the statement read.

On Friday, Mestron said it had inked a heads of agreement with Zhongyu Yexing to distribute Covid-19 vaccines in Malaysia.

Mestron's managing director Por Teong Eng said the company had obtained the clearance letter from the MoH to commence negotiation and cooperation with any company from China for the importation, distribution, sale, marketing, use and application of Covid-19 vaccines in Malaysia.

Zhongyu is part of the Sino Pharma Group of Companies, and is one of the authorised distributors for Sinopharm's China National Biotech Group Covid-19 vaccines.

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