In the third phase of the vaccination campaign starting from May 1, questions have been raised about the price of vaccines for people. Two vaccines, Kovishield and Kovaxin, are currently being installed in the country. As of May 1, Indians will have to pay 600 rupees per dose of Coffeeshield vaccine in private hospitals. In such a case, it is said that Indians vaccinated in private hospitals will have to pay the world’s highest price for this vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.
Adar Poonawala, CEO of the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, said the company is also making a profit at Rs 150 per dose. Bunawala also called for a vaccine at a rate of 1,000 rupees per dose after the first shipment is out.
He said, “We have just offered a special price of 200 rupees to the Indian government for the first 100 million doses, and then we will sell it in the market for a thousand rupees.” The vaccination is now being given in private hospitals for 250 rupees. There is a fear that there will now be no control over the price of the vaccine and hospitals will start charging arbitrary fees.
The burden on people’s pockets with the new policy
The India Serum Institute commissioned the Coffeeshield AstraZeneca and Oxford vaccine. The serum announced that it will now give state governments a dose for 400 rupees. Price of private hospitals will be 600 rupees. The vaccine gives the vaccine at the rate of 150 rupees to the central government.
In the new vaccine policy, the center decided that it would buy 50 percent of the vaccines from the same companies and that other state governments and private hospitals would be able to purchase them. According to the new policy formulated by the government, private hospitals will not receive the vaccine from the central government from May 1. It will have to buy directly from the vaccine manufacturers.
So far, the central government has been providing vaccinations to private hospitals at a rate of Rs 150 per dose. In this, hospitals were adding vaccines at Rs 250, adding up the vaccination fee of Rs 100. This arrangement has been abolished in the new policy.
The hospital can charge an arbitrary rate
Now, when private hospitals get a covishield of the serum for 600 rupees, according to calculations so far, the price will be at least 700 rupees per dose. That is, those who have to take two doses will have to pay at least 1,400 rupees, but given the way the vaccine was brought to market, there is no hesitation in taking more money to hospitals.
Serum CEO Adar Poonawala said, “The new price was set based on government instructions. Despite the new price, Poonawala claimed that Kovishield is cheaper than any other vaccine in the world.” He said, “A dose of American vaccines is available in the private sector. Market for 1,500 rupees, while vaccines in Russia and China are over 750 rupees.
The opposition expressed its strong opposition to the new prices for vaccines. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi described the vaccine policy as demonization. He said: ‘Some industrialists benefited from demonization and the common people had to face problems. The same will happen with this vaccine policy. With the vaccine disclaimer hashtag, Rahul tweeted, “A disaster for the country, an opportunity for Moody’s friends.”
In this case, Adar Poonawala explained that the initial supply to the center at the rate of Rs 150 would be 10 crore vaccines only. It has already been agreed upon. He said vaccines after 10 crores will also be sold to the center at Rs 400.