Supreme Court questions dual COVID-19 vaccine pricing for Centre, states
The Supreme Court bench did not pass any orders on COVID-19 vaccine pricing, but asked the Centre to examine issue, Bar & Bench reported.
April 30, 2021 / 02:48 PM IST
Supreme Court (Image: Shutterstock)
The Supreme Court (SC) on April 30 questioned the different pricing of COVID-19 vaccines for Centre and state governments.
A three-judge Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and Ravindra Bhat was hearing the suo motu case on issues related to COVID-19 management.
The SC bench did not pass any orders in this regard, but asked the Centre to examine issue, Bar & Bench reported.
"AstraZeneca is providing vaccines at far lower price to the US citizens then why should we be paying so much? Manufacturers are charging you Rs 150 but Rs 300 or Rs 400 to States. Why should we as a nation pay this, the price difference becomes 30 to 40,000 crores?" Justice Bhat said, as quoted by Bar & Bench.
Track this LIVE blog for latest update on coronavirus pandemic
Justice Chandrachud asked why a national immunisation policy cannot be adopted.
"Will one state get priority access over another in getting the vaccines? Centre says 50 percent will be procured by states for vaccines. How will the vaccine manufacturers ensure equity? Why not follow the National Immunization Program policy...procurement is centralised but distribution be decentralised," Justice DY Chandrachud asked.
For Phase 3 of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, vaccine manufacturers have been permitted to release 50 percent of their supply to states. States can now purchase doses directly from the vaccine makers.
Bharat Biotech has priced Covaxin at Rs 400 per dose for state governments, while Serum Institute of India will sell Covishield at Rs 300. However, the Centre will continue procuring shots at Rs 150 per dose from both companies.