Escalating Prices Of Covaxin and Covishield and Intensifying Denunciation

Since the vaccine prices have been quoted by Serum Institute of India(SII) and Bharat Biotech, it is inviting much criticism to its part. Country’s government allowed two big vaccine giant companies to fix rates at “liberalised” rates as its opening the vaccination drive for all above the age of 18 from 1st May.

PM Narendra Modi has declared that the government has decided that phase 3 vaccination strategy will emphasize on “liberalised  pricing and scaling up of vaccine coverage”. According to the government this move is expected to make “pricing, procurement, eligibility and administration of vaccines open and flexible”. But with all this this move has created more of the problems.

Adar Poonawalla On Increased Price

SII has been constantly censured since 15th April when it announced that covishield will be distributed at 400/- per dose to state governments and 600/- per dose to private hospitals.  CEO of SII Adar Poonawalla also indicated in media interview that it will charge Rs. 400 per dose of vaccines from central government now on fresh orders but union health ministry has clarified that it will procure vaccines at Rs. 150 from both Bharat Biotech and SII, and those will be provided free to the states, to this Mr. Adar clarified that Rs. 150 per dose was only initial contracts of 100 million doses. But still all this is creating so much confusion?

 

SII even received much criticism for charging the higher price for Oxford -Astra Zeneca’s Covishield in India compared to global markets. Well for all these criticizms Adar Poonawalla retaliated by saying that comparing the global price of vaccine with India is “inaccurate comparison”. In fact COVISHIELD is the most affordable Covid-19 vaccine available in the market today. He also justified by saying “Initial prices was low globally as it was based on advanced funding given by those countries for at risk manufacturing.”

Also read: Adar Poonawalla- An Acute Entrepreneur of the Generation

He also said that the current situation is extremely dreadful as the virus is regularly mutating and the people are still at risk and in “Identifying the uncertainity, we have to ensure sustainability as we must be able to invest in scaling up and expanding our capacity to fight the pandemic and save lives.” Covishield is still one of the cheapest vaccines as American vaccines are priced at Rs 1500 while Russian and Chinese vaccines cost at Rs 750 each. He also said that the “price of vaccines is still lower than other medical treatment expenses”. We not at all intend to make profits, we are working for the well-being of our country and people only.

Bharat Biotech On Justification Of Prices

Meanwhile Bharat Biotech announced its prices on 24th April quoting Rs 600 per dose for state governments and Rs 1200 for private hospitals. For the increased prices Bharat Biotech has also given its argument saying, “Covaxin is an inactivated and highly purified vaccine, making manufacturing expensive due to very low process yields. All costs towards product development, manufacturing, facilities and clinical trials were deployed primarily used internal funding and resources. Unlike SII Bharat Biotech continue to supply vaccines to centre at Rs 150 per dose.

On recovery of the costs it said “ Recovery of costs is essential in the journey of innovation towards other vaccines such as  Intranasal Covid-19, Chikanguniya, Cholera, Zika and others.” Said by Dr. Krishna Ella CMD of Bharat Biotech.

Acquiring Prices For Central and State Governments

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Image credit: https://www.livemint.com/

Both the companies have to set aside 50 percent of vaccine doses to central government so that it can carry out free vaccination drives for people above the age of 45, while the rest can be distributed state governments and private hospitals as per the pre-fixed prices.

So, accordingly  States now will receive vaccines from SII at over twice the price of Central Government and from Bharat Biotech at four times the central government is purchasing and prices for final customers will depend on whether hospitals impose any additional charge.

Many states and ministers have alleged that government is espousing profit-making and exploitation by two manufacturers bluntly and much heated debate is going on. And both the companies are giving explanations for their decisions. Government has given them permission to fix their prices and they are charging by keeping everything in mind. So, whatever maybe the situation hope that phase 3 vaccination drive from May 1 will be carried out smoothly and bring happiness in the lives of people again and change this melancholic atmosphere.

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