Denník N has rejected Russia’s demand to withdraw a story on Sputnik V

The Russian marketer of the vaccine threatened a lawsuit if demands were not met.

Sputnik VSputnik V (Source: TASR)

The Denník N daily reported that it will not withdraw the story in which it reported about the findings of the State Institute for Drug Control (ŠÚKL) concerning the Russian Covid vaccine, Sputnik V.

The request was delivered by the Russian Fund for Direct Investment (RFDI), the main marketer of the vaccine, which has asked either for the withdrawal of the story or adding information about the test results in Hungarian labs.

The RFDI claimed in the request that the story from April 8 contained incorrect and misleading statements about the vaccine by the Slovak regulator, and threatened a legal action if the daily did not meet its request by May 9.

“The story accurately quoted an official statement of the State Institute for Drug Control,” said Matúš Kostolný, editor-in-chief of Denník N. “It stands by its doubts about Sputnik and we see no reason to retract the story.”

The Sputnik saga

The first batch of 200,000 doses of Sputnik V arrived in Slovakia on March 1, with then PM Igor Matovič and then health minister Marek Krajčí (both OĽaNO) welcoming it at the Košice airport. As they announced, Slovakia had ordered 2 million doses that were supposed to be gradually delivered in the coming months. Yet, Slovakia has still not received any further supplies.

President: Lab certification not the reason why Russians want Sputnik V back Read more 

Since Sputnik V has not been registered by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Health Ministry issued an approval for the therapeutic usage of the vaccine, but let the Slovak medicines regulator check the vaccine.

ŠÚKL later issued a statement, claiming that it cannot say whether it is safe to administer the vaccine. Although the vaccine passed the tests, it could not issue a comprehensive statement due to the missing documents. The institute also said that the vaccine it tested was not the same as described in the prestigious Lancet magazine.

The disputes over Sputnik V contributed to already tense relations in the ruling coalition, which resulted in a coalition crisis. The crisis ended only after Matovič resigned from the post and swapped posts with his then finance minister, Eduard Heger.

Meanwhile, Matovič continued dealing with the Sputnik V agenda and even travelled to Russia to discuss it with the representatives of the RFDI. After his return, he announced that the Russians want to terminate the deal, and launched attacks on ŠÚKL for its statement, claiming that it had harmed the reputation of the vaccine. He also said that they carried out tests in labs not certified by the EU. ŠÚKL has been backed by several politicians, scientists, diplomats and even the president.

It turned out later that the actual reason why Russians demanded that the vaccine be returned was because Slovakia had not paid.

Head of medicines agency: we still don't have all data about the Russian vaccine Read more 

Matovič meanwhile travelled to Hungary to discuss tests being carried out in Hungary. Later, Russia asked for some vaccine samples to be tested in its own labs.

Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee) has repeatedly said that they were awaiting the results of both Hungary and Russia to decide on the administration of Sputnik V in Slovakia.

Matovič wrote on May 10 that the results from Hungary are good, and the vaccine could soon be used in Slovakia. The Health Ministry responded that it has received no such information yet.

Read more about the coronavirus developments in Slovakia:

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