The Serum Institute of India (SII) today (Wednesday, 28 April) announced that the price of its COVID-19 vaccine Covishield would be reduced for states from Rs 400 to Rs 300 per dose.
SII''s CEO Adar Poonawalla took to Twitter to announce the "philanthropic" gesture.
Poonawalla added that the price cut will save thousands of crores of state funds as well as countless lives.
"As a philanthropic gesture on behalf of Serum Institute of India, 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 going forward. This will enable more vaccinations and save countless lives," Poonawalla wrote in his tweet.
This follows widespread criticism of the pricing policy of the SII, which sold the initial doses of Covishield to the Central Government at Rs 150 per dose.
Many states have objected to the different prices for the vaccines.
Earlier this week, the Central Government had asked SII to reduce the price of its vaccine ahead of the third phase of the nationwide vaccine drive which will begin from 1 May.
While Serum had priced Covishield at Rs 400 for state government hospitals and Rs 600 for private hospitals. Bharat Biotech priced its vaccine at Rs 600 for state government hospitals and Rs 1,200 for private hospitals.
Poonawalla earlier asserted that the Centre would also pay Rs 400 per dose for the next orders, after which the Centre said it would continue procuring the vaccine for Rs 150 and give it for free to the states.
Last week, SII had defended the pricing of the Covishield vaccine, saying the earlier price was based on advance funding and now it has to invest in scaling up and expanding capacity to produce more shots.
The Centre has also announced that state governments and private entities will be allowed to procure vaccines straight from the manufacturers from 1 May.
The Centre further said vaccine makers can now give 50 percent of their stock to the state governments and private entities.
Covishield is one of the two anti-COVID vaccines currently administered across the country.
It is the Indian version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
The government last week waived basic customs duty on import of COVID vaccines, medical grade oxygen and related equipment for three months.
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