Fix one price for Covid vaccine, irrespective of who pays: Mamata to Centre | Kolkata - Hindustan Times

Fix one price for Covid vaccine, irrespective of who pays: Mamata to Centre

Apr 22, 2021 01:41 PM IST

Serum Institute of India (SII) on Wednesday announced it will sell its anti-Covid-19 vaccine, Covishield, for ₹400 to state governments, and ₹600 to private hospitals in the country

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said that the Centre must fix one price irrespective of who pays – Centre or state.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (PTI)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (PTI)

“One nation, one party, one leader shouts BJP all the time but to save lives they can’t have one price for vaccine. Every Indian needs free vaccine, regardless of age, caste, creed, location. GoI must fix ONE price for Covid vaccine irrespective of who pays— Centre or the States,” Banerjee tweeted on Thursday.

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Serum Institute of India (SII) on Wednesday announced it will sell its anti-Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine, Covishield, for 400 to state governments, and 600 to private hospitals in the country.

Also watch | Vaccine pricing row: Mamata Banerjee & Sonia Gandhi lash out at PM Modi

The firm made the announcement after the Centre on Monday allowed Covid-19 vaccine makers to sell their vaccine in the open market in India at a pre-decided rate.

Also Read | ‘Not a different price’: What Adar Poonawalla says on Covishield price row

While addressing mediapersons on Wednesday, Banerjee had said that she would write to the Prime Minister over the differentiation in pricing of vaccines and urged the Centre to intervene.

“Vaccines, which were sold to the Centre for 150, will now be sold to states for 400 and to private hospitals for 600. There should not be any discrimination. In times of an emergency do you help people or do business?” Banerjee had said on Wednesday, while speaking the media.

The West Bengal government has set aside 100 crore for universal vaccination scheduled to take off on May 5, soon after election results are declared, the chief minister has already announced.

“The private manufacturers fix the pricing taking into account the production cost, scientific input and market demand. In an open market the manufacturers have the right to fix it. She should say on what ground the centre can interfere in fixing the price of a medicine. Why is she not negotiating with the company directly?” said Jay Prakash Majumdar, state vice-president of BJP.

Globally, American vaccines in the open market currently cost about 1,500 per dose, Russian and Chinese vaccines cost around 750 per dose.

The chief minister had in February written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over allowing the state to purchase vaccines so that free vaccination could be started.

“Now that the number of cases in the second wave is spiraling, the Centre has chosen to tactically indulge in empty rhetoric and shy away from its responsibility for making vaccines available to the people,” she said in a letter to Modi on Tuesday after the Union government opened Covid-19 vaccination for everyone above the age of 18.

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