We need both a government subsidy and a free market for vaccines to fight the covid pandemic
As covid cases rise with increasing economic activity, the only way forward for India is to formulate a sensible acquisition and pricing policy for a coronavirus vaccine, when it becomes available. The goal is simple: a policy that ensures the fastest delivery of a vaccine for the largest number of people. The only way to achieve it is to rely on and work with the private sector to acquire and allocate the vaccine across India, and shun price and quantity controls. The country needs dual acquisition and pricing strategies. First, vaccines for the poor should be paid for by the government at cost; and second, a free market for the vaccine should operate for those who can afford it. The private testing market was crippled by slow approvals and court-mandated pricing. This must not happen with a vaccine.
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