The Serum Institute of India (SII) has agreed to reduce the prices of Covishield doses that will be supplied to the state governments. The company would charge the states Rs 300 per dose, SII chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla said on April 28.
“As a philanthropic gesture on behalf of @SerumInstIndia, I hereby reduce the price to the states from Rs.400 to Rs.300 per dose, effective immediately; this will save thousands of crores of state funds in the future. This will enable more vaccinations and save countless lives. (sic),” Poonawalla tweeted.
The SII, India’s largest vaccine manufacturer, had earlier priced Covishield at Rs 400 per dose for the state governments and Rs 600 for the private hospitals.
Notably, Covishield – the Indian version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – is one of the two anti-COVID jabs currently administered to the beneficiaries in the country.
The second vaccine is currently used is Bharat Biotech Limited’s Covaxin, which has been priced at Rs 600 per dose for the state governments and Rs 1,200 for private hospitals.
The Centre would, however, continue procuring both the vaccines at Rs 150 per dose. Several state governments had raised objections to differential pricing.
The states, which objected, sought the Centre’s intervention on the pricing row before May 1 – when the vaccination drive would be thrown open to all citizens aged above 18.
Earlier on April 28, a meeting was held between Union ministers and officials of the vaccine manufacturers to discuss pricing and supply-related issues.
According to CNBC TV 18, purchase orders were yet to be signed by states and private hospitals with the vaccine makers since clarity was awaited on the pricing of the doses.
Sources told the channel that 19 states had placed requests for 340 million doses with SII, while private hospitals have ordered 18 million doses.