New Delhi: Indian Pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of Covid vaccine Covaxin, on Tuesday asked the Central government to reconsider the price at which its Covid-19 vaccine– Covaxin is sold to the government, private hospitals, and private markets. The Hyderabad-based pharma company added that the current price at which the vaccine is being supplied to the central government is not sustainable. Therefore, a higher price in private markets is required to offset part of the costs.
“The supply price of COVAXIN to the government of India at Rs 150/dose, is a non-competitive price and clearly not sustainable in the long run. Hence a higher price in private markets is required to offset part of the costs,” the statement read.
Bharat Biotech said that it has kept 50 per cent of its output capacity reserved for the government’s free vaccine rollout programme which is scheduled to begin on June 21, it sells Covaxin to the Centre at Rs 150 per dose, while its charges are higher for states and private players.
Bharat Biotech clarified that due to the virulent nature of the SARS CoV2 virus, more than 200 quality control tests are done on each batch of Covaxin, and 10,000 sq meters of the area used to manufacture around 200 million doses of the vaccine annually, hence the price of COVAXIN vaccines for private sector players is significantly higher than that given to governments and large procurement agencies. “This is purely due to fundamental business reasons, ranging from low procurement volumes, high distribution costs and retail margins among few others as explained above,” the company statement read.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on June 8, revised the cost of administering Covid-19 vaccine doses in private hospitals. As per the latest revision, the administration of Covishield will cost Rs 780, while the Covaxin dose will be given at Rs 1,410. For the Russian Covid vaccine Sputnik V, private hospitals can charge Rs 1,145 per dose, based on the prices currently declared by vaccine manufacturers.
The Centre announced that it has placed fresh orders of about 44 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines that are produced in India, on June 3. The Union Health Ministry announced that the Centre has placed an order to purchase 25 crores doses of Covishield and 19 crore doses of Covaxin.