Price talks on Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine yet to kick off

Sputnik V. Photo: Reuters
With more Covid-19 vaccines on the anvil, the Centre is likely to start another round of price negotiations with the manufacturers.

The Rs 150 (exclusive of taxes) per dose price is not being taken as a ceiling price during negotiations with other manufacturers, said a senior official. So far, price negotiations have not begun on Sputnik V, the person confirmed. However, discussions for Bharat Biotech vaccine price are on. Sputnik V is priced at $10 globally. Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) has already applied for emergency use authorisation of Sputnik V and an approval is expected soon. India’s neighbour Pakistan has allowed commercial import and sale of Sputnik V without price caps.

“The price of Rs 150 plus taxes was decided after rounds of negotiations with manufacturers. Going forward, the procurement price would be determined based on individual negotiations with manufacturers,” said the person close to the developments. He said the price reduction was not a factor of volumes.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund did not respond to emails. DRL, too, did not wish to comment on pricing matters and said it was “too early to comment”.

Serum Institute of India has agreed to supply 100 million doses of Covishield at Rs 150 plus goods and services tax per dose for priority group of population above the age of 60 years and those aged between 45 to 60 years with co-morbidity.

In the first lot in January, the Centre had procured 16.5 million doses of vaccines. Covishield was priced at Rs 200 per dose (without taxes) and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin was effectively priced at Rs 206 per dose (without taxes) as the company gave 1.65 million doses free. For 3.85 million doses of Covaxin, the firm charged Rs 295 per dose.

In February, more doses were ordered with both manufacturers, and Bharat Biotech is expected to deliver around 4.5 million doses by next week.

On Sputnik V vaccine, the official said when arriving at Rs 150 per dose, the earlier price of Rs 200 per dose for Covishield made by Serum Institute acted as a benchmark price.

India is procuring vaccines at the lowest price so far. According to a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, the ministry of health and family welfare has said the price of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine across the world is in the range of about $4 to $5.25 per dose. For Covax facility that pools the demand and supplies for 191 participating countries, the price of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is $3 per dose.

The ministry said the Covax price “appears is largely on account of substantial advance payment done to the vaccine manufacturer, much before its vaccine completed clinical trial and obtained licensure from the regulator”.

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 is engaging with vaccine manufacturers on one to one basis for procurement of vaccines at a price that is mutually agreed upon, said an official.

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