Covaxin maker Bharat Biotech on Thursday said it will supply the vaccine to State governments at ₹400 per dose.
A reduction of ₹200 from the ₹600 it had set last week , for State government supplies, the announcement comes a day after Serum Institute of India said it is lowering the price of Covishield for States to ₹300 per dose, from the earlier announced ₹400.
Bharat Biotech said “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.”
Stating it is deeply concerned with the critical pandemic circumstances that India is facing, the company said it wish to be transparent in “our approach to pricing.” The price, a statement said, was determined by internally funded product development, several operationally intensive BSL-3 manufacturing facilities and clinical trials.
“With the greater part of the organisation’s facilities and resources being diverted to COVID-19 vaccines, we continue to work towards offering superior COVID-19 vaccines and sincerely wish that this gesture enables our country toward a faster recovery,” Bharat Biotech. It said while seeking to highlight how “for the last year, Team Bharat Biotech has been fearlessly handling live SARS-CoV-2 virus strains, tirelessly working round the clock while overcoming many challenges given the uncertainty of the pandemic.
Developed by Bharat Biotech in association with ICMR, Covaxin is one of the two vaccines – Covishield the other – India has been using as part of an immunisation programme against COVID-19 since January. The Russian Sputnik V has also received emergency use authorisation from the Drugs Controller General of India. According to recent reports the first consignment of imported Sputnik V will arrive in May.
Bharat Biotech CMD Krishna M. Ella has in the past stressed on how recovering costs remains essential in the journey of innovation towards other vaccines such as intranasal COVID-19, Chikungunya, Zika and Cholera. “Our core mission for the last 25 years has been to provide affordable, yet world-class healthcare solutions for the globe,” he had said.
The reduction in the price by the two vaccine makers comes ahead of the May 1 launch of immunisation for all those above the age of 18 in the country. Thus far only those aged 45 years were eligible to get the vaccine.
While setting the May 1 deadline, the Centre had permitted vaccine makers to sell half of their production to States and to private hospitals. Bharat Biotech has been supplying Covaxin at ₹150 a dose to the Centre. For private hospitals, it has fixed the price at ₹1,200 per dose. It intends exporting the vaccine at $15-20 a dose.