Bharat Biotech, the manufacturer of Covaxin, has yet to announce a formal price for its Covid-19 vaccine, but CEO Krishna Ella said the company would prefer to have the "maximum possible price".
Covaxin is priced between $15 and $20 in foreign markets. The company is working to notch up its vaccine production potential to 700 million doses each year, as well as is seeking approval in 60 countries. It is already securing $15-20 per shot in Mexico, the Philippines, and Iran.
The price of vaccines remains a controversial topic, despite the fact that the Centre has now "liberalized vaccine pricing," allowing vaccine manufacturers to sell 50% of their vaccines on the open market while holding the other 50% for the Centre. Dr. Krishna Ella, chairman and managing director of Bharat Biotech, the company that is producing Covaxin, has stated that he would like to get the highest price possible to cover all expenses, including the 350 crore that the company spent on the drug, reported the LiveMint.
Ella said, "As a company, we would like to have the maximum possible price. We would like to recover the costs incurred in clinical trials and other things. We want to reinvest the money into research and development (R&D) and be ready for future pandemics."
Bharat Biotech is also working on developing other vaccines for Zika, Chikungunya, H1N1, etc. "We need cash for future R&D." "I never give dividends in my company. I continue to live simply," Ella said.
Speaking to NDTV, the developer of Covaxin said: "Pricing is a complex matter — what is the central government pricing, state government pricing, private market pricing, etc".
Ella believes that each state government should have a different price depending on volumes, transportation, when they want the vaccine delivered, and so on, based on his experience selling other vaccines.
"We have experience and knowledge of working with state governments. But, in the private market, we work with children now (for the non-Covid-19 vaccines). Working with adults is the most dangerous," Ella said on a lighter note.
He also believes that states should opt for tendering before deciding on a vaccine."They have an accounting process, so tendering can be a route."
Meanwhile, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, which is bringing Sputnik V to India, said, "Sputnik V is currently being sold globally at prices of $10 per dose or higher. As far as India is concerned, we are in discussions on the price of the imported vaccine. We will share an update once there are further developments in this regard." reported The Business Standard.
According to sources, the cost in the private sector could be up to $10 per dose, while governments could get it for $4 or less.
Deriving from the phase 3 trial results, Covaxin has a 78% efficacy against mild, moderate, and serious disease, and a 100 percent efficacy against severe disease. Whereas, Sputnik has a success rate of 97.6%.