Hyderabad: Amid reports of differential pricing of Covid-19 vaccines in private hospitals and for government supplies, Bharat Biotech stated that innovators with specialised expertise in product development, and large-scale manufacturing, should be allowed to maintain a differential pricing strategy for governments and private hospitals.
The company said, “It is distressing to see that a large country like India has a very basic level of innovation in vaccines and pharmaceutical products. It may well be argued that the low-price realisation for home-grown innovators constrains innovation and product development in India. In the absence of a dual pricing system, Indian vaccine and pharmaceutical companies’ risk being reduced to mere contract manufacturers with intellectual property licensed from other nations.”
The Hyderabad-based company said vaccine pricing depends on numerous factors. “At the outset, one must remember that the pricing of vaccines and other pharmaceutical products heavily relies on a series of factors; the cost of goods & raw materials, product failures, at risk product development outlays, product overages, the entire capital expenditure for setting up sufficient manufacturing facilities, sales and distribution expenses, procurement volumes and commitments besides other regular business expenditures,” the company added.
The whole-virion Inactivated Vero Cell vaccines (Covaxin derived from this technology platform) are highly complex to manufacture since the critical ingredient is based on live viruses which require highly sophisticated, multiple level containment and purification methods. Such high standards of purification automatically lead to significant process losses and low yields.
The company said, “This is evident from the excellent safety contours of Covaxin with an impressive supply of more than 40 million doses to date. It is emblematic that Bharat Biotech has not sought Indemnity from the Government of India for any adverse events from Covaxin.