NEW DELHI: Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech on Saturday announced that its COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin will cost Rs 600 per dose to state governments and Rs 1200 per dose to private hospitals, two days after its competitor Serum Institute of India declared the rate of Covishield for non-central government channels.
Covaxin and Covishield are currently two available vaccines for COVID-19 in India.
SII had said that Covishield will be available to states at Rs 400 per dose and private hospitals at Rs 600 per dose which led to huge criticism as the company has hinted earlier that it was generating normal profit even at Rs 150 per dose, at which it has been supplying the vaccine to the Centre.
— Sumi Dutta (@SumiSukanya) April 24, 2021
In a statement, Bharat Biotech, which has developed Covaxin in collaboration with ICMR’s National Institute of Virology said that the company is “honoured to develop, manufacture and supply the vaccine for India’s vaccine rollout at Rs 150 per dose”, which is distributed for free by the Centre.
“We would like to state that more than 50 per cent of our capacities have been reserved for Central government supplies,” it said adding that the vaccine has a distinct feature of having a 28 day open vial policy. Once opened, the vaccine can be stored at 2-8 degree Celsius for 28 days thereby reducing the wastage.
A thread on Bharat Biotech’s (BB) pricing of Covaxin at Rs 600/dose for State governments and Rs 1200/dose for private hospitals. The pricing of Covaxin at prices higher than Covishield puts the so-called Indian vaccine even more out of bounds for the poorer Indian citizens. 1/n
— R. Ramakumar (@ramakumarr) April 25, 2021
The announcement comes days after the company, along with ICMR, issued a press release saying that the second interim analysis of the phase-3 clinical trial of the vaccine had shown it to be 78 per cent effective against infection and 100 per cent effective against severe disease.
The company also justified the price, viewed as steep by many, by saying that Covaxin is an inactivated and highly purified vaccine, making manufacturing expensive due to very low process yield. “All costs towards product development, manufacturing facilities and clinical trials were deployed primarily using internal funding and resources of Bharat Biotech,” said the company.
It also said that “recovering costs is essential in the journey of innovation towards other vaccine such as intranasal COVID-19, Zika, Chikungunya, Cholera and others”.