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Is the price of vaccines still a sticking point? – news from india


Negotiating prices remains an issue that is being resolved before the Center signs a purchase order for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine launch, experts said Wednesday, even as the government continued to finalize infrastructure and other mechanisms to implement. the blows against the coronavirus.

While distribution to other nations began shortly after approval with pre-signed pricing agreements, New Delhi and the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker by volume and a local AstraZeneca partner, have been involved in months of discussions and have yet to sign a formal supply agreement, according to a Bloomberg report.

The SII previously said that it offered the vaccine to the government at a cost of Rs 200 per dose for the first 100 million doses.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is priced at 2.5 euros ($ 3) per dose on the international market.

“The paperwork in these types of agreements takes some time. Prices are negotiated when such large bulk orders are to be placed, as India is launching one of the government’s largest vaccination campaigns.

“Most importantly, the vaccine delivery management system must function smoothly,” said a government official on condition of anonymity.

The union’s health secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, said on Tuesday that the vaccination campaign in India will begin 10 days after two vaccines, the one made by SII and Covaxin from Bharat Biotech, received emergency use authorization. The approvals were granted on Sunday. Bharat Biotech has not made a public statement on the price of its vaccine so far.

Bhushan did not respond to inquiries on pricing that have yet to be finalized. Niti Aayog’s Dr. Vinod Paul also declined to comment on the matter.

India plans to vaccinate 30 million frontline and healthcare workers in the first phase of vaccination for free. The government has said it plans to vaccinate 300 million people with priority by July this year.

One expert, who asked not to be named, said the paperwork should have been resolved months ago as the government had ordered the vaccines in advance. As dry trials were conducted over the past week, the vaccine launch should have occurred on Monday, he argued.

“It seems there is no other reason for the delay. Negotiations generally take place around the price per dose, as the volume is huge, ”said a public health expert on condition of anonymity.

Hindustan Times