By comparison, Covishield, this week said their vaccines are priced at ₹400 for states and ₹600 for private hospitals
Following the Centre’s announcement that State governments and private hospitals could purchase COVID-19 vaccines directly from the manufacturers, Bharat Biotech, maker of the indigenously developed Covaxin Covaxin has set the price at ₹600 per dose for State governments. For private hospitals, the price will be ₹1,200 per dose. The company intends exporting the vaccine, which it has developed in association with ICMR, for $15-20 per dose.
On Saturday, announcing the price, in the backdrop of the Centre’s recent decision which also permits vaccine makers to sell half of their production to States and open market, Bharat Biotech said more than 50% of Covaxin capacities have been reserved for Central government supplies. It is supplying Covaxin at ₹150 per dose to the Centre.
CMD Krishna M. Ella said recovering costs is 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 said.
The announcement from the company said all costs towards product development, manufacturing facilities and clinical trials were deployed primarily using internal funding and resources of Bharat Biotech. An inactivated and highly purified vaccine, manufacturing Covaxin was expensive due to very low process yields, the statement added.
Covaxin and Covishield, which is manufactured by Serum Institute of India, are the two vaccines used in the immunisation drive India rolled out in mid-January and whose Phase 3 is set to begin on May 1 in which all those above the age of 18 will be eligible to get vaccinated. The Centre had asked the vaccine markers to firm up the price ahead of the Phase 3.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday tweeted that the Centre’s procurement price for both the vaccines remains at ₹150 per dose. “These doses will continue to be provided to the States free of cost,” he said.
The prices announced by Bharat Biotech are higher than those set by SII for Covishield. On April 21, the Serum Institute set the price of its vaccine at ₹400 a dose to State governments and ₹600 for private hospitals.
A third vaccine, Russia’s Sputnik V, has also been accorded emergency use authorisation by the Drugs Controller General of India. Initially to be imported, the vaccine is expected to be available by June.