Adar Poonawalla's Serum cuts Covishield vaccine price for state governments to ₹300 a dose after much backlash

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Adar Poonawalla's Serum cuts Covishield vaccine price for state governments to ₹300 a dose after much backlash
Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of IndiaAdar Poonawalla/Twitter
  • The CEO of the world's largest vaccine maker has been getting much flak from those who think the vaccine prices are too high.
  • From defending the policy of charging different prices for different customers, Poonawalla has now take a small step back by reducing the price charged to state governments.
  • Business Insider has argued that the price of the vaccine should be the same for everyone otherwise there is a risk that the precious vials may be moved to more lucrative private hospitals, making the poorer sections of the society wait longer.
After much backlash for the last set of pricing announced by Serum Institute of India (SII), for its Covishield vaccine, Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla today annnounced that the world's largest vaccine maker would give the state governments a ₹100 discount on every dose.

In a tweet, Poonawalla called this cut a "philanthropic gesture" that will save crores of rupees of state funds and save countless lives. That's a sharp departure from his stand just a few days ago.



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These are the prices fixed by Serum Institute of India (SII) for the Covishield vaccine:
If the vaccine is sold to… Price per dose
Central government₹150
State government₹300
Private hospitals₹600
*The earlier price announced for state governments was ₹400 a dose.

On April 24, Poonawalla's company was defending the prices announced by the company earlier. "We have to ensure sustainability as we must be able to invest in scaling up and expanding our capacity to fight the pandemic and save lives," said a statement from SII.

However, now the company has decided to cut the prices but the debate is far from over. Many people argue that it should be free for all. And many state governments like those Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and many others, have already said that the state will bear the cost of vaccination.
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Business Insider has argued, earlier, that the price of the vaccine should be the same for everyone otherwise there is a risk that the precious vials may be moved to more lucrative private hospitals, making the poorer sections of the society wait longer. A petition filed in the High Court of Kerala has also argued that the three-tier pricing is a violation of a citizen's 'right to health'.

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