The Supreme Court to Tuesday asked the Central government to explain the rationale behind the prices of Covid-19 vaccines as different manufacturers have listed different prices.
“The Union of India shall clarify in its affidavit the basis and rationale adopted in regard to the pricing of vaccines”, a bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat said as quoted by LiveLaw.
“Different manufacturers are coming out with different prices. What is the Central Government doing about it?”, Justice S Ravindra Bhat asked the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta during the hearing on “Distribution Of Essential Supplies and Services During Pandemic.”
The court questioned the Central Government why it is not using powers under the Drugs Control Act to control the prices of the vaccines.
“This is a pandemic and a national crisis. If this is not the time to issue such powers, what is the time?”, the court asked.
The Supreme Court has also asked the Centre to explain how it is going to meet the surge of vaccine demand from May 1 when all adults will be eligible for vaccination.
“…if vaccination is open to above 18 we need to know how you are going to meet the increased surge in demand for vaccines”, Justice Chandrachud told the Solicitor General.
Serum Institute of India, which produces the Covishield vaccine, has announced that it will sell vaccines to the State Governments at the rate of Rs 400 per dose and to private hospitals at the rate of Rs 600. The Central Government is currently procuring Covishiled at Rs 150 per dose.
Bharat Biotech, which produces the indigenous vaccine Covaxin, had decided to sell it to State Governments at Rs 600 per dose and to private hospitals at Rs 1200 per dose.
The Centre’s vaccination policy allows private vaccine manufacturers to set the price themselves.
The Court will consider the matter next on April 30.