The health department has defended its decision to switch its supplier of pneumococcal vaccines from state-backed Biovac to Indian-backed Cipla, saying the move was done to save money. Biovac’s bid price was “at least double” that put forward by Cipla, it said in a statement on Thursday.

Biovac entered into a partnership with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in 2015 to help produce its 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine, in the expectation that the jabs would be purchased by the state...

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