oppn parties Covid Vaccines Cannot Be Priced As Any Other Vaccine

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  • In a first, the Supreme Court recognizes marital rape, although for the limited purpose of allowing married women the right of abortion up to 24 weeks if they conceived as a result of forced sex by their husbands
  • Air India cuts discounts on base fare to students and senior citizens from 50% to 25%
  • Mallikarjun Kharge and Digvijay Singh are being touted as frontrunners to take on Shashi Tharoor in the elections for the post of Congress president
  • Sonia Gandhi will decide who will be Rajasthan CM if she feels there is a need to change guard after the near-rebellion by MLAs in the state
  • Ashok Gehlot bowed out of the race for being Congress president after meeting Sonia Gandhi
  • India has moved to the 40th spot in the innovation index, up 6 spots from last year
  • DGGI has alleged that top insurance companies, banks and NBFCs has committed a fraud of Rs 800cr by claiming input tax credit without underlying supplies
  • The Centre will borrow Rs 10000cr less than planned earlier due to good revenue collections
  • At $23.9bn, India's current account deficit widened to 2.8% in Q1, the worst in four years
  • Stocks continue to flounder on Thursday: Sensex sheds 188 points to 56409 and Nifty 40 points to 16818
  • The 36th National Games were declared open on Thusrday by PM Modi in front of a record crowd in Motera near Ahmedabad
  • Jasprit Bumrah most likely to miss T20 World Cup due to recurrence of back injury
  • PFI's political wing, the SDPI is on EC radar and action will follow soon if discrepancies are detected
  • Ashok Gehlot to meet Sonia Gandhi today, says all issues will be sorted out soon
  • Referring to the PFI ban, most Muslim organizations ask the government to take similar action against right wings organizations like the RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP and the like
In a landmark order, Supreme Court rules that all women, married or unmarried, are entitled to safe and legal abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy as per the MTP Act
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Covid Vaccines Cannot Be Priced As Any Other Vaccine

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2021-06-16 11:38:25

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

Both Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech, makers of Covishield and Covaxin respectively, have urged the government to raise the price at which it is acquiring the Covid vaccines from them. Their argument is that the average price (reported to be in the range of Rs 200 to Rs 250 per dose excluding taxes) now is not sustainable due to the fact that a lot of costly R&D went into developing the vaccines and they have to upgrade their facilities. They say that at current price, they are just recouping their costs and making a small profit. But, they say, they have to make super profits to recoup R&D costs and for future R&D.

Their arguments are perfectly logical. But that is in the case of any other vaccine. In case of Covid vaccines, these arguments do not hold. For, most other vaccines take years to develop and then several more years to test and market. The Covid vaccines were developed, tested and administered in a record 10 to 11 months. Then, most other vaccines are sold in thousands of doses over a period of several years. Here we are talking about millions of doses in a span of just one year. Also, most other vaccines need extensive marketing which is a costly exercise. Commissions have to be paid at each point in the sales channel. Even doctors have to be 'paid' to prescribe their brand if there are competing vaccines. Companies also have attractive schemes for the trade (like "buy three, get two free" etc) for most other vaccines. Lastly, in all other vaccines, there are expired and unsold products, sometimes to the extent of 5% of sales, which the companies have to take back from the market. The companies are saving all these costs. Further, in the case of Covaxin, the government of India, through ICMR, has contributed funds in R&D.

If the companies say that these costs are not sustainable, the government must sit with them to renegotiate the price. But the pricing of vaccines which are to be procured in millions of doses in a short span of time and for which the government is making advance payment in part cannot be priced in a manner similar to any other vaccine. The companies have to keep this in mind.