Dr Reddy's soft-launches Sputnik V in India at Rs 995 per dose; expects 36 mn doses in couple of months
Justifying the price, the official said it was done based on its landing price and other expenses involved in bringing it to people. He said the price may come down once local manufacturing starts
Dr Reddy's Laboratories on Friday soft-launched imported COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, with DeepakSapra, a senior executive of the drug-maker, taking the first shot in Hyderabad.
The vaccine is priced at Rs 948, with five per cent GST per dose (retail price of Rs 995.40). The first consignment of imported doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) landed in India on May 1, and received regulatory clearance from the Central Drugs Laboratory, MV Ramana, CEO of Branded Markets (India and emerging Markets), Dr Reddy's, told a press conference.
"The current prices are based on the imported price that we had from RDIF and we are in discussions with various State governments, though quantities have not been fixed...We are in discussions with RDIF and we have a commitment of, over the couple of months, 36 million doses that we are expecting to get from RDIF. I don'thave a very clear monthwise plan to share," Ramana told reporters.
Justifying the price, the official said it was done based on its landing price and other expenses involved in bringing it to people. He said the price may come down once local manufacturing starts. RDIF has tie-ups with six Indian drug firms to manufacture the vaccine.
The two vaccines- Covaxin by Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute's Covishield-- which are currently used in the vaccination programme across the country - are priced at Rs 1,200 and Rs 600 per dose respectively to private hospitals.
By mid-June, Dr Reddy's expects stocks for commercial sales from RDIF and the company is in discussions with a couple of State governments and the Centre for supply of the vaccine, he added.
"Local manufacturing is expected to give us the vaccine for commercial usage from July timeframe.. after that it will steadily ramp up over the next few months," he said. On launching the product, Sapra said the company would initially be looking tentativelyat 35 cities where cold chain facilities are available for launching the product and span out based on the infrastructure.
Sputnik V needs to be stored at -18 degrees centigrade, Sapra said.
On another vaccine Sputnik Light from RDIF, Sapra said the Russian organisation has submitted to Dr Reddy's the interim results of the single-dose vaccine's trials which are being studied.
As soon as the vaccine completes the 42-day trial, Dr Reddy's would approach the Indian regulators for necessary approvals.
On 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG),an anti-COVID oral drug, developed by DRDO for emergency use as adjunct therapy in moderate to severe coronavirus patients, he said it is expected to be launched in mid-June.
The drug, which was approved by the Drugs Controller General of India, has been developed by Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a leading laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with Dr Reddy's Laboratories in Hyderabad.
In a separate statement, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said that Sputnik V has become the first foreign-made vaccine used in India. "The second batch of Sputnik V is expected to arrive in India by the end of the week," it said.
RDIF noted that India is leading production hub for Sputnik V. It has reached agreements with leading Indian pharmaceutical companies -- Gland Pharma, Hetero Biopharma, Panacea Biotec, Stelis Biopharma and Virchow Biotech -- that are aimed at production of more than 850 million doses per year.
"Sputnik V is the first foreign-made vaccine used in India. RDIF stands ready to support our partners in India to launch a full-scale vaccination with Sputnik V as soon as possible," RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev said.
The safe and effective Russian vaccine, which to date is authorised in 65 countries, will make an important contribution in upscaling the vaccination in India and bringing down the number of cases, he noted.
On Thursday, the Centre said that over two billion doses of vaccines will be made available in the country in five months between August and December, enough to vaccinate the entire population.
VK Paul, Member (Health) at Niti Aayog had said the estimated 216 crore doses that are likely to be produced between August and December include 75 crore doses of Covishield and 55 crore doses of Covaxin.
Dr Reddy's had received permission from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to import Sputnik V into India for restricted use in emergency situations in April.
The company had partnered with RDIF to conduct the clinical trials of Sputnik V and distribute the vaccine in India in September 2020.
Sputnik V uses two different vectors for the two shots in a course of vaccination. Its efficacy was determined to be 91.6 per cent as per an article published in the medical journal Lancet.
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