Hyderabad: Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) Working President and Minister of Industries and IT, KT Rama Rao on Thursday questioned the price variation in vaccines sold to the states.
On April 21, the Serum Institute of India said `Covishield' will be sold at Rs 400 a shot to states and Rs 600 to private hospitals. The new rates come days ahead of the next phase of vaccinations from May 1 which will inoculate everyone above the age of 18,
The pharma company will continue to sell vaccine doses to the Centre for Rs 150 each.
"We agreed for One Nation - One Tax (GST). But now we see, One Nation - Two different Vaccine prices! For the Government of India, the price is at Rs 150 and for the state government, the price is at Rs 400. Can't the GoI subsume any additional cost from PM CARES & help rapid vaccination across India?," asked KTR.
As part of the government's new policy, 50 percent of the vaccine doses will be reserved for the Centre and the rest will be divided between states and private hospitals. It means vaccine shots from central government hospitals or establishments will be the cheapest.
Serum Institute of India said that the company will serve 50 percent of the total production to the Government of India's vaccination programme, and the remaining 50 percent of the capacity will be for the state governments and private hospitals.
Many of the states are questioning the pricing of the vaccine for the states as it will become on the state's coffer during the pandemic when they are spending on healthcare and other services without much earning.
"The central government has abdicated its responsibility of ensuring universal vaccination. The new policy will create a serious strain on state finances, chaos in vax procurement, escalation of prices and exclusion of the poor. The net result would be a prolongation of the calamity," said Thomas Isaac, Finance Minister Kerala.
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Ponnawala said they are losing money at the current price point. "We have to pay 50 percent of the revenue to AstraZeneca as royalty," he said
Ponnawala noted that the current price was offered for a temporary period of time.