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Experts question the purchase price of the government vaccine, say it is higher | India News

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MUMBAI: As the Covid-19 vaccine completes its journey from lab to hospital, its price is questioned. Public health activists and industry experts TOI spoke with said that government purchases from the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech vaccines were “overrated.”
The proposed MRP of Rs 1,000 per dose of the vaccine in the private market has also drawn attention.
The government purchase price of Rs 200 per dose of Covishield, made by the Serum Institute, is higher than what the EU is said to pay. The EU is paying 1.78 euros per dose (almost 159 rupees) for the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, according to a leaked document posted on Twitter by Belgium’s budget secretary of state recently (see box).
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin government purchase price of Rs 295 has also drawn attention, as the vaccine is still in “clinical trial” mode and thus lacks crucial data from the phase 3 trial, they noted. The experts. Worldwide, the prices of medicines and vaccines have been closely guarded trade secrets. The pandemic has highlighted the need for greater transparency and fairness.
What has surprised public health experts is that the price is higher in India, which has one of the lowest manufacturing costs. “The government should have negotiated a better price and should offer the vaccine to everyone for free. The cost should be around Rs 100 with economies of scale activated. Even with a small margin, possibly (they) are paying Rs 50-60 more. There is still no clear commitment from the government on vaccines beyond the priority group, with the implication that the state will have to contribute, ”said S Srinivasan of the All-India Drug Action Network, an NGO working to increase access. .
“The government can demand transparency from companies, in terms of cost of production, license terms and similar details. The profit margin cannot be unreasonable – four to five times the public sector price, ” Leena Menghaney, a lawyer specializing in public health, told TOI.
When contacted, Serum Institute Executive Director Adar Poonawalla said: “No one is giving it for less than 200 rupees on this planet. We have charged a reasonable price, with a small margin. The Rs 2,000 vaccine (proposed MRP for both doses for private purchase) saves households the enormous costs of hospitalization. In the future, there will be a bidding process in India for additional orders. ” The serum has set a maximum price of $ 3 per dose for low- and middle-income countries for the vaccine to be distributed under the Covax alliance. “Why is there a differential price? Although it is difficult to know the correct price since the cost to manufacture is not known, the vaccine can be mass produced at an economical price. The government could have negotiated a better rate through ICMR, which co-sponsored the trials and supported Covishield’s R&D in the bridging studies conducted here, ”said Dr Anant Bhan, researcher and former president of the International Bioethics Association .
The government had said on January 12 that both vaccines are affordable because they are made in India.

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