Rs 150 per dose is not sustainable in long run: Bharat Biotech on Centre's Covaxin price

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By Sahil Pandey

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], June 15 (ANI): Indigenous COVID-19 vaccine maker Bharat Biotech on Tuesday said the supply price of Covaxin to the Government of India at Rs 150 per dose is a non-competitive price and not sustainable in the long run, hence a higher price in private markets is required to offset part of the costs.

"The supply price of Covaxin to the government of India at Rs 150 per dose, is a non-competitive price and clearly not sustainable in the long run. Hence a higher price in private markets is required to offset part of the costs," Bharat Biotech said in a statement.

The company said, as directed by the Government of India, less than 10 per cent of the total production of Covaxin to date has been supplied to private hospitals, while most of the remaining quantity was supplied to state and central government.

"As directed by the Government of India, less than 10 per cent of our total production of Covaxin to date has been supplied to private hospitals, while most of the remaining quantity was supplied to state and central governments. In such a scenario the weighted average price of covaxin for all supplies realized by Bharat Biotech is less than Rs 250 per dose. Going forward, ~75 per cent of the capacity will be supplied to state and central governments with only 25 per cent going to private hospitals," the statement read.

The company clarifies that the procurement of vaccines by private hospitals is optional and not mandatory, albeit it gives a choice to citizens who are willing to pay for better convenience.

"Unlike most medicines and therapeutics, vaccines are provided free of cost by the Government of India to all eligible Indian citizens. Thus, the procurement of vaccines by private hospitals is optional and not mandatory, albeit it gives a choice to citizens who are willing to pay for better convenience. In our view, the question of product pricing is only of extraneous interest to all concerned, especially when the same vaccine is made available free of cost," it said.

Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer also added that it is pertinent to mention the urgent need to set up a significant number of manufacturing facilities and to divert existing ones for Covaxin, which has resulted in reduced production of other vaccines at our facilities, leading to a loss in revenues.

"Product development activities towards the development of vaccines against newer variants are also underway at our facilities," the statement revealed.

Bharat Biotech mentioned that it should be allowed to maintain a differential pricing strategy for governments and private hospitals.

"It should be noted that companies such as Bharat Biotech, which are innovators with specialized expertise in product development, and large scale manufacturing, should be allowed to maintain a differential pricing strategy for governments and private hospitals," said the company statement. (ANI)

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