oppn parties Covid Vaccines Cannot Be Priced As Any Other Vaccine

News Snippets

  • T20 WC: USA enter Super Eights as their last match against Ireland gets washed out. They were ahead of Pakistan in the points tally. Pakistan were eliminated
  • T20 WC: USA enter Super Eights as their last match against Ireland gets washed out. They were ahead of Pakistan in the points tally. Pakistan were eliminated
  • BJD leader and former Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik said that the criticism of his aide V K Pandian is "regrettable"
  • As more than 20 BJP ministers lost in the recent elections, the new Union cabinet will have many new faces from the party
  • Congress Working committee asks Rahul Gandhi to take up the position of Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha. Gandhi says he will consider the request
  • RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said that gold was shifted to India as the quantum of RBI gold abroad had increased due to recent purchases
  • Delhi HC rules that submitting photographic evidence of adultery will not be enough, they will have to be proved as authentic in the age of deepfakes
  • A four-member panel will review NEET-UG results of 1563 candidates to check if they were given extra marks for exam time loss
  • Mamata Banerjee says her party will not join Modi's oath-taking ceremony. Also says INDIA bloc might stake claim to form government later
  • K C Tyagi of the JD(U) dropped a bombshell when he said that Nitish Kumar was offered the post of prime minister for switching sides. Opposition leaders rubbished the claim
  • This May was India's hottest month in 36 years says IMD
  • T20 WC: India take on Pakistan today. Telecast to begin at 8pm IST
  • T20 WC: Afghanistan stun New Zealand and Bangladesh win against Sri Lanka
  • T20 World Cup: Australia beat England by 36 runs. This spoils England's chances of making the playoffs as they have lost both their matches till now
  • Heat wave continues in the country as monsoon moves slow
G7 commits to promote India-Europe corridor
oppn parties
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.