COVID-19: In a ‘philanthropic gesture’ SII cuts Covishield vaccine price for states to Rs 300 per dose

The gesture came after widespread criticism of its pricing policy and the Supreme Court putting the Centre on the mat, asking it to control the vaccine prices in two days
Covishield
A vial of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is produced in India and marketed as Covishield (Image: Reuters/Gleb Garanich)

Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), the largest vaccine producer in the world, on Wednesday cut the price of Covishield to be supplied to the States to Rs 300, instead of Rs 400 per dose, as a “philanthropic gesture.”

The gesture came after widespread criticism of its pricing policy and the Supreme Court putting the Centre on the mat, asking it to control the vaccine prices in two days.

The reduction also came on the heels of a PIL filed in the Bombay High Court on Wednesday to fix the selling price of both Covaxin and Covishield at Rs 150 per dose as agreed by the two vaccine makers in an initial deal with the Centre. In their PIL, Mumbai lawyer Fayzan Khan and three law students alleged “organised loot” by the two pharma companies and sought the court’s intervention to protect public health by fixing a single price under the Essential Commodities Act.

In a tweet, SII Ceo Adar Poonawalla said: “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. This will enable more vaccinations and save countless lives.”

Serum price for private hospitals, however, remains unchanged at Rs 600 per dose.

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