Adar Poonawalla Says ‘Covishield Most Affordable’ Amid Pricing Row
Reports said that at Rs 600 ($8 per shot ) Covishield “is more than its price in any major global market”.
Amid an ongoing row over Covishield’s India pricing after it has been touted as one of the most expensive one in the world, in a press statement released on Saturday, 24 April, Serum Institute’s CEO Adar Poonawalla claimed that Covishield was the “most affordable COVID-19 vaccine available in the market today”.
Recently, as the government announced that under Phase 3 of India’s vaccination drive, COVID-19 vaccines would be available in the open market, SII, on Thursday set price tags for Covishield – Rs 400 per dose for state governments and Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals.
Comparing prices of vaccinations in the global market, The Indian Express on Saturday reported that at Rs 600 ($8 per shot ) Covishield “is more than its price in any major global market”.
The report further pointed out that “the 27-nation EU is paying $2.15-$3.50 for a shot of the vaccine across locations in Europe, a high-cost manufacturing destination.”
The UK is paying about $3 per dose while the US has been offered the vaccine at $4 per dose, the report said quoting data compiled by British Medical Journal. Bangladesh, too, is procuring the vaccine for $4 with the final cost amounting to $5.
The pricing is at Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals, the report further noted, despite the fact that Mr Poonawalla had said that his company was making a profit even at a price of Rs 150 per dose.
However, in its clarification statement over the questions raised about Covishield’s pricing, Mr Poonawalla said, “The initial prices were kept very low globally as it was based on advance funding given by those countries for at-risk vaccine manufacturing. The initial supply price of Covishield for all government immunisation programme, including India, has been the lowest.”
As Congress leader Jairam Ramesh urged for the government’s intervention to limit the price of the vaccine doses to make it affordable for the larger population, the Centre issued a clarification saying the government’s procurement price remains at Rs 150.
A tweet posted by the Ministry of Health read, “It is clarified that Govt of India’s procurement price for both #COVID19 vaccines remains Rs 150 per dose. GOI procured doses will continue to be provided TOTALLY FREE to States. [sic]”
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