At Rs1,200 ($16.42) a dose, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, a Covid-19 vaccine fully developed and manufactured in India, is the most pricey option available at private hospitals in India. The vaccine is not only more expensive than the other locally manufactured option, Covishield, but costs more than even the imported Sputnik V.
Covaxin’s pricing is “nothing but governmental sanction for Bharat Biotech to make super profits,” says Malini Aisola, co-convener of the All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN), an independent collective of healthcare professionals and nonprofits. “These unethically inflated prices have no correlation to its cost of production,” she says.
The price of Covaxin sticks out like a sore thumb especially given the fact that industry experts estimate it costs around Rs40 to produce one dose of the vaccine. Bharat Biotech did not reply to Quartz’s email about the rationale behind its pricing strategy.
To be clear, all these vaccines are being offered free of cost at government-run hospitals and health centres, and these prices are applicable only to those who opt to pay and get vaccinated at private hospitals.