Serum Institute of India has defended its move to price Covishield vaccine at 1.5 times the initial rate. The company, which manufactures AstraZeneca’s vaccine Covishield at its Pune facility, said the earlier price was based on advance funding and now it has to invest in scaling up and expanding capacity to produce more shots. Earlier this week, the vaccine maker announced a price of ₹600 per dose for private hospitals and at ₹400 for state governments and any new contract by the central government.
Defending its pricing of Covishield vaccine, SII issued a statement saying, “There was an inaccurate comparison done between the global prices of the vaccine with India.”Covisheld is the most affordable Covid-19 vaccine available in the market today.”
SII went on to add that only a limited portion of SII’s volume will be sold to private hospitals at ₹600 per dose. “The price of the vaccine is still lower than a lot of other medical treatment and essentials required to treat COVID-19 and other life threatening diseases,” it added.
We at @SerumInstIndia have for the past five decades been at the forefront of supplying vaccines and saving lives globally. We care about and respect every human life and strongly believe in transparency, and thus we hope our statement below can clear any confusions. pic.twitter.com/YQ3x38BuFL
— SerumInstituteIndia (@SerumInstIndia) April 24, 2021
The initial price, it said, was “kept low globally as it was based on advance funding given by those countries for at risk vaccine manufacturing.” The statement further added,” the current situation is extremely dire; the virus is constantly mutating while the public remains at risk.
Identifying the uncertainty, we have to ensure sustainability as we must be able to invest in scaling up and expanding our capacity to fight the pandemic and save lives”.