Congress Says Modi Govt Procuring Covid-19 Vaccines at Inflated Prices

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The Congress on Sunday questioned the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, alleging that the government has procured the vaccines at inflated prices despite the manufacturers claiming they would supply the vaccines without seeking profit.

Congress General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, addressing a press conference, said, "Why should the Modi government pay Rs 95 per dose more to Bharat Biotech for a vaccine that has been developed with the expertise and experience of scientists of government-run ICMR and pay more for a vaccine that has only been tested on 755 individuals and is yet to be cleared after phase-3 trials?"

The Congress leader said the price of such a vaccine must be lower than AstraZeneca-Serum Institute of India's Covishield.

"Why is the price of the vaccine at Rs 1,000 per dose in the open market?" he asked.

'Covishield' is an AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India. The company is supplying this vaccine at Rs 200/dose to government. AstraZeneca has committed to supplying the vaccine at no profit while 'Covaxin', manufactured by Bharat Biotech, is being supplied at Rs 295/dose. Bharat Biotech has developed Covaxin in partnership with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said that his company will sell Covishield for Rs 1,000 per dose in open market, which is Rs 2,000 for 2 doses required for every individual.

Surjewala said, "Why should export of vaccine be permitted without immunisation of India's population? 'Corona Vaccine For All' should be the stated policy of the Modi government."

"However, the government's approach on free vaccination or cost of vaccination, cost to exchequer, profit margins of companies, etc, for India's 130 crore people is completely opaque and shrouded in secrecy," he said.