Bharat Biotech lowers vaccine price for states
Bharat Biotech, the co-developer and manufacturer of India’s indigenous coronavirus disease vaccine, Covaxin, on Thursday announced a revised selling price of ₹400 per dose, from the earlier ₹600, for state governments.
The vaccine manufacturer’s decision to slash the price by 33% came a a day after another Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer, Serum Institute of India (SII), which makes the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine under the brand name Covishield in India, reduced its selling price to states to ₹300 from ₹400.
“Bharat Biotech is deeply concerned with the critical pandemic circumstances that India is facing at this time. Recognising the enormous challenges to the public health care system, we have made Covaxin available to state governments at a price of ₹400 per dose,” the company said in a statement.
“We wish to be transparent in our approach to pricing which was determined by internally funded product development, several operationally intensive BSL-3 manufacturing facilities (the first of its kind in our country) and clinical trials. We wish to champion innovation in India and our commitment to public health is absolute,” the statement added.
For private hospitals and institutions, the company has set the cost at ₹1,200 per dose, and for international market, the vaccine will be sold for $15-20 per dose, it announced earlier.
The decisions by the two companies come amid demands from several states that the vaccine prices for them be reduced, and be brought at par with the price for the Union government, which buys the two vaccines from SII and Bharat Biotech for ₹150 a dose.
Several chief ministers, including Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal and Maharashtra’s Uddhav Thackeray, have demanded a “one nation, one price” policy.
But the companies have stressed that the revenue generated from sale is important for them to expand production capacities.
Bharat Biotech has a production capacity of about 10 million Covaxin doses each month, and is looking at manufacturing scale up in a stepwise manner across multiple facilities at Hyderabad and Bangalore.
With the help of the Union government, the company is working towards ramping up the production capacity by at least 100% by May-June, 2021, and with a target set of producing nearly 100 million doses per month by September 2021. The Union finance ministry also approved a credit line of ₹1,500 crore to Bharat Biotech for this purpose.