Serum Institute of India has decided to reduce the price of its coronavirus vaccine Covishield to Rs 300 from the earlier rate of Rs 400. The decision was announced by CEO Adar Poonawalla, who said that this reduction of price is a philanthropic gesture on the part of Serum. He added that this price cut will save thousands of crores of state funds as well as save countless lives.
"As a philanthropic gesture on behalf of @SerumInstIndia, I hereby reduce the price to the states from Rs.400 to Rs.300 per dose, effective immediately; this will save thousands of crores of state funds going forward. This will enable more vaccinations and save countless lives," he said.
The decision comes after the Centre urged both Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech to reconsider their prices just ahead of the new phase of the vaccination drive that will include everyone above 18 years.
There has also been a heated debate regarding the pricing of the two vaccines. Serum had priced Covishield at Rs 400 for state government hospitals and Rs 600 for private hospitals. Bharat Biotech priced its vaccine at Rs 600 for state government hospitals and Rs 1,200 for private hospitals.
Lot of criticism had come regarding the pricing as many believe that the price should be the same for everyone. Poonawalla had earlier said that the Centre too would pay Rs 400 per dose for the next orders. But the Centre over the weekend clarified that it would continue procuring the vaccine for Rs 150 and continue to give it for free to the states.
The government had recently allowed state governments and private entities to procure vaccines straight from the manufacturers. It had allowed vaccine makers to give 50 per cent of their stock to the state governments and private entities.