The Indian government on Tuesday set the maximum price private hospitals can charge for the three COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the country — Covishield Rs 780 per dose, Covaxin Rs 1,410 and Sputnik V Rs 1,145. In a letter to all states and union territories, the Health Ministry suggested that appropriate strict action be taken against private vaccination centres for overcharging. The maximum price of Covishield for private COVID-19 Vaccination Centres (CVCs) has been fixed at Rs 780 per dose, while that of Covaxin is Rs 1,410 per dose and Sputnik V Rs 1,145 per dose, it said.
The Health Ministry asked states to ensure that the prices declared by various private CVCs do not exceed the ceiling. The Serum Institute of India sells its Covishield to private hospitals at Rs 600 per dose (excluding GST). Bharat Biotech has set the cost of its Covaxin at Rs 1,200 a dose for private establishments. Both vaccines are supplied to the central government at a cost of Rs 150 a dose. Sputnik-V is supplied to private hospitals at Rs 948 per dose.
"The private hospitals may charge up to a maximum of Rs150 per dose as service charges. State governments may monitor the price being so charged," the ministry said. The ministry also requested states and union territories to regularly monitor the prices being charged by the private CVCs from the citizens. "It is also requested that wherever instances of overcharging as compared to the price declared by the CVC come to notice, appropriate strict action is taken against any such private CVCs," it said.
In an address to the nation on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the central government will provide free COVID-19 vaccine to states for inoculation of all above the age of 18 from June 21. The Prime Minister said the Union government has now decided to buy 75% of jabs from vaccine makers for free supply to states, while private sector hospitals will continue to procure the remaining 25% but they cannot charge more than Rs 150 per dose over the pre-fixed price.
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