Serum Institute of India(SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla announced on Wednesday that Covishield's procurement price for state governments would be slashed from Rs.400 to Rs.300 per dose. This decision comes just after the centre's request to SII and Bharat Biotech to reduce the price of the COVID-19 vaccines.
A few days ago, the centre announced that the vaccine will be given to all the citizens who are above 18 years of age from May 1st.
Adar Poonawalla took to his Twitter and tweeted that, "As a philanthropic gesture on behalf of Serum Institute India, 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 going forward. This will enable more vaccinations and save countless lives." Here is the tweet.
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 going forward. This will enable more vaccinations and save countless lives.— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) April 28, 2021
While the centre's procurement price for Covishield and Covaxin remains at Rs.150 per dose, state governments and private hospitals must pay a higher price. For example, state governments can get Covaxin for Rs.600 per dose from Bharat Biotech while private hospitals can get it for Rs.1200 per dose.
SII faced a lot of criticism over its pricing of the Covishield vaccine. In the last week, it responded by stating that, "Inaccurate comparisons between the global prices of the vaccine with that in India". The SII also said that Covishield, one of two anti-Covid-19 vaccines in the country remained the most affordable Covid-19 vaccine available in the market today.
The SII in a statement said that, "The initial prices were kept very low globally as it was based on advance funding given by those countries for at-risk vaccine manufacturing. The initial supply price of Covishield for all government immunization programme, including India, has been the lowest."
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope asserted that despite the centre's announcement that the third phase would begin on May 1, vaccination would not be able to begin on that date because the only two indigenous producers - SII and Bharat Biotech - couldn't supply the necessary amounts of doses.
The DCGI also accepted the recommendations of the Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, paving way for the approval of Sputnik V on April 12.