oppn parties Will Serum Institute Profiteer By Selling To States And Private Hospitals At The Stated Rates?

News Snippets

  • 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
oppn parties
Will Serum Institute Profiteer By Selling To States And Private Hospitals At The Stated Rates?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2021-04-24 03:34:51

About the Author

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

Indian Express has reported that Serum Institute is going to sell the Covishield vaccine (developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and being contract-manufactured in India by Serum) to private hospitals in India at the world's highest rate. It has made a rate chart (see lead picture) which shows that while the vaccine is available all over the world at between $ 2.15 (Rs. 162 in the European Union) to $5.25 (Rs. 395 in South Africa and Saudi Arabia). Serum has said that it will sell at Rs. 400 per dose to state governments and at Rs. 600 per dose to private hospitals. Although it had sold the first 100 million doses to the Central government at Rs. 150 per dose, Adar Poonawala, the CEO of Serum had stated at that time that the final price for private markets would be Rs.1000 per dose. Yet, the company had said that it was making a small profit even while selling to the Centre at Rs. 150 per dose.

So is Poonawala not the angel he first seemed when his company took a calculated gamble and produced the vaccine "at-risk" even before it was approved and supplied the shots immediately when they were approved at probably the cheapest rate in the world? Should he and Serum be allowed to get away with making huge profits by now supplying the shots at prices much higher than other countries pay, especially when the Centre has ploughed in Rs 3000 crore as advance payment for it to ramp up production? This is interest-free tax payers money Serum is getting and it should keep this in mind before fixing the rates for the shots.

India is a huge market. If Covishield can be supplied between Rs 162 and Rs 300 per dose in the European Union and UK, one feels that anything between that should be the rate at which Serum should supply to both the Centre and the states. It can charge a little extra for private hospitals. Ideally, the Centre should negotiate a combined rate for itself and the states and it should not be more than Rs. 250 per dose. Serum can then price the doses at Rs. 300 for private hospitals. Making profits is the right of all commercial entities and Serum should be allowed to make reasonable profits for its enterprise. But profiteering cannot be tolerated, not even in normal times let alone in a pandemic.