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At Rs 700-Rs 1,500, India’s Private Sector Covid Vaccine Price Among The Most Expensive | India News

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MUMBAI: From Rs 250, the cost of vaccines in the private sector has skyrocketed up to six times. It now ranges between Rs 700-900 for Covishield manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Rs 1,250-1,500 for Covaxin manufactured by Bharat Biotech (BB).
The CoWIN website shows that most of the private sector vaccination right now is done by four large corporate hospital groups: Apollo, Max, Fortis, and Manipal. An overwhelming majority of countries are not making people pay out of pocket for Covid vaccination.
India is not just one of the few exceptions, the cost of vaccines in India’s private market is among the highest – almost $ 12 for a Covishield injection and $ 17 for Covaxin. Initially, the Center purchased vaccines for 150 rupees and supplied them to state governments and private hospitals.
The private sector was allowed to charge Rs 100 per dose as vaccination charges. The private hospitals had agreed that Rs 100 would cover the cost of administering the vaccine. However, many hospitals are effectively charging Rs 250-300 per Covishield injection as vaccination charges.
A Max hospital spokesperson told TOI that Covishield’s arrival price was Rs 660,670, including GST and transportation and storage costs. There is 5-6% waste due to breakage and thus the cost of the vaccine per inoculation is Rs 710,715, he added.
“The costs of administering the vaccine include hand sanitizer, personal PPE equipment, biomedical waste disposal, etc. amounting to Rs 170-180. The net cost of Rs 900, ”he said. It is not clear if the acquisition price of the hospitals is the same as the prices declared by the two vaccine companies.
For private hospitals, Bharat Biotech had announced a price of Rs 1,200 per dose of Covaxin, while IBS had announced Rs 600 per dose, in both cases double the price for states. With such a large price difference, public health activists warned of diverting stocks to the private sector, which would lead to higher profits for vaccine manufacturers.
Several state governments have been complaining that they do not have enough doses to continue the campaign. Delhi, which is administering a dose of lakh per day, is in stock for only four to five days, according to its MC. Maharashtra’s health minister announced on Saturday that the SII chief executive had told him that the company would not be able to supply Covishield to the state until May 26.
In Telangana, due to unavailability of stocks, the government continues the vaccination campaign only for those over 45 years of age. Kerala had also complained that he had received only 3 lakh doses against his request for a one crore dose (75 lakh from Covishield and 25 lakh from Covaxin).
Smaller hospitals are also rejected when they try to place orders. Many hospitals that sought to place orders for Covishield said they had been told the company had backorders from the Center and the states and that they would first have to funnel them and then follow up on orders already placed by private hospitals. The company told them it was not receiving any more orders at this time, they said.
“The new vaccine policy had struggled to ensure profitability for a small group of hospitals. Opening vaccines at free market prices by the private sector indicates that inequity is almost like a principle in this policy. So even within the private sector, it is only a small section of corporate hospitals that are being favored. The policy has nothing to do with universal vaccination and, in fact, it will make universal vaccination more difficult, ”said Dr. T Sundararaman, global coordinator of the People’s Health Movement.

Times of India

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