Updated: May 14, 2021 12:42:10 am
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain raised the issue of differential pricing of Covishield and Covaxin and manufacturers of the two vaccines “incurring huge profits” at the time of a pandemic, in a meeting with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday.
According to the new vaccine procurement policy set by the government, the two companies can charge a higher rate from states and private entities as compared to the Centre, and the states have to procure vaccines directly from them to vaccinate those in the age bracket of 18 to 44 years.
Jain said he had told Vardhan that companies will make thousands of crores worth of profit and that the price should be Rs 150 for all – the Centre as well as states.
“Covishield is being supplied to the Centre at Rs 150, and at this rate, the Chairman had stated they are incurring profits. The company is manufacturing 6 crore vaccines every month. Even if we go by a profit of Rs 10 per dose, and they give half of the vaccines to the Centre, which is 3 crore, the estimated profit comes out to be Rs 30 crore. Now, the same vaccine is being sold to the state governments at Rs 300, which means the profit doubles while the cost of production remains the same… the company generates a humongous profit of Rs 960 crore in just one month… for 100 crore people, we need at least 200 crore doses, and if we take 100 crore doses from one company and the other 100 crore from another, both of them incur a profit of Rs 16,000 crore each. The request that we have put forward is that a uniform rate applying to all – that of Rs 150 to the Centre should be kept for all others as well. In times of such crisis when the nation is battling the atrocities of the pandemic, we cannot let the companies incur such huge profits,” the health minister said.
Delhi has said previously that it wants to vaccinate all citizens within three months and needs close to 85 lakh vaccine doses a month to achieve that. It also wrote to the manufacturers to place orders for 67 lakh doses each in April.
Jain also said different manufacturers should be given the formulae for vaccine production to scale up production quickly and that states should be allowed to facilitate the vaccination programme since many people, especially in rural areas, do not have smartphones and do not understand English.
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