Covid-19: Vaccine manufacturers to meet PM Modi today to seek ‘right price’

By: |
March 3, 2021 4:45 AM

They would also urge the PM against any ceiling on the vaccine price for the private sector, according to a person privy to the matter. Currently, the government procures the vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — at a fixed price of Rs 150 per dose.

Apart from making efforts to meet the requirements of India, the vaccine major is also trying its best to balance the needs of the rest of the world, he had said.Apart from making efforts to meet the requirements of India, the vaccine major is also trying its best to balance the needs of the rest of the world, he had said.

Top executives of vaccine manufacturers, including Serum Institute (SII) and Bharat Biotech, will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to seek doubling of the price at which the government procures the prophylactic products.

They would also urge the PM against any ceiling on the vaccine price for the private sector, according to a person privy to the matter. Currently, the government procures the vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — at a fixed price of Rs 150 per dose.

“The government can procure at Rs 300-400/per dose and order the quantity it requires on a priority basis,” the person said.

“Vaccine makers can produce more and sell to the private hospitals and others at a price to be arrived at through negotiations. It is not sustainable for them (companies) to supply at Rs 150 a dose. Price capping would demotivate the vaccine makers when what we need is augmented production of the vaccines to meet the needs of population,” the person added.

Among others, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla, Bharat Biotech CMD Krishna Ella, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories chairman Kallam Satish Reddy and Cadila Healthcare chairman Pankaj Ramanbhai Patel are scheduled to meet Modi on Wednesday.

The Centre has supplied two Covid-19 vaccines, Covishield of SII and Covaxin of Bharat Biotech, free of cost to the states/UTs to vaccinate health care workers and front line workers. These two vaccines have been rolled out from March 1 to cover the priority group –people above 60 years of age and those in the age group of 45 years to 59 years suffering from pre-specified co-morbidities.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories is in the process of manufacturing Russia’s Sputnik V while Cadila Healthcare is developing its vaccine called ZyCoV-D.

Besides domestic vaccination, Indian vaccine makers SII and Bharat Biotech have made India proud by supplying millions of doses to a large number of countries across the world to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Currently, the Centre procures all the vaccines and supply them free of cost to the States and UTs who in turn will disburse them further to the government and private Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs). While all vaccines provided to beneficiaries at the government health facilities will be entirely free of cost, private facilities cannot charge more than Rs 250 per person per dose (Rs 150 for vaccines and Rs 100 as operational charges). At the current prices, two doses will cost Rs 500 per person.

For Covid-19 vaccination, the Budget for FY22 has made a provision of Rs 35,000 crore to cover 50 crore people (Rs 700/person for two doses, including vaccine cost of `400-500).

But the current prices fixed by the Centre are even lower at Rs 500/person for two doses. Depending on the vaccination roll-out, a funding pattern will be worked out between the Centre and states and accordingly provisions will be made. If prices are revised upward, the Budget provision may have to be enhanced to some extent or the states may be asked to foot part of the vaccination cost.

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