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Covaxin manufacturer Bharat Biotech on Tuesday explained why the prices for its vaccine were higher for private sector. It said that higher prices for private sector players are "purely due to fundamental business reasons, ranging from low procurement volumes, high distribution costs and retail margins".

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In a statement released on Tuesday, Bharat Biotech said that as directed by the Government of India, less than 10 per cent of its total production of Covaxin to date had been supplied to private hospitals, while most of the remaining quantity was supplied to State and Central Governments.

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"In such a scenario the weighted average price of COVAXIN for all supplies realized by Bharat Biotech is less than 250 per dose. Going forward, 75% of the capacity will be supplied to State and Central Governments with only 25% going to private hospitals," it said.

Bharat Biotech, which has developed Covaxin in collaboration with ICMR's National Institute of Virology, has been giving Covid vaccine to the Centre at 150 per dose. The prices are different for private hospitals and states.

Addressing this price difference, Bharat Biotech said that the supply price of Coxain to the government of India at 150 per dose, "is a non-competitive price and clearly not sustainable in the long run". "Hence a higher price in private markets is required to offset part of the costs," it said.

The Hyderabad-based company further said that there are live examples of such pricing policies where Human Papilloma virus vaccine is priced for GAVI supplies at $ 4.5 per dose ( 320), but is also available in the private market at 3500 per dose.

"Rotavirus vaccines are supplied to the Govt of India at 60 per dose, but is also available in the private market at 1700 per dose. The prices for COVID-19 vaccines internationally have varied between $10 to $37 per dose, ( 730 - 2700/ dose)," it said.

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