The prices of Covishield and Covaxin could be capped at Rs 275 per dose, with an additional service charge of Rs 150, once the two Covid-19 vaccines get regular market approval from the drug regulator, a report by news agency Press Trust of India said, quoting official sources.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has been asked to start working towards capping the price to make the vaccines affordable, it said.

Currently, Covaxin is priced at Rs 1,200 per dose, while Covishield costs Rs 780 in private facilities. The prices include Rs 150 service charge.

India has so far vaccinated over 92 per cent of its adult population with one dose, while more than 72 per cent adults are fully vaccinated. More than 80 per cent have received the Covishield dose. According to experts, there are only two market players involved in the case of these two vaccines, unlike drugs where the market price is captured by different data sets.

Covishield and Covaxin are currently in use under emergency use authorisation, which was granted on January 3, 2021. Both vaccines were recommended for full market approval for use in the adult population by a subject expert committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation on January 19, subject to certain conditions. The recommendations are now being considered by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), which is expected to take a call on the matter soon.

The government has indicated that the full market approval for both vaccines could come with certain conditions. In principle, according to experts, such an approval would mean that the vaccine manufacturers can sell in the open market with some price control.

There is lack of clarity on whether market authorisation means the vaccines would be available in chemist shops for the general population to purchase, and if the makers would be allowed to sell them freely.

Prakash Kumar Singh, director, government and regulatory affairs, Serum Institute of India, had submitted an application to the DCGI on October 25, seeking regular market approval for its Covishield vaccine.

Bharat Biotech, too, has submitted complete information on the chemistry, manufacturing and controls, along with the pre-clinical and clinical data while seeking regular market authorisation for Covaxin.

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