- India is exploring various options of securing sufficient stocks of COVID vaccines
- Essential Commodities Act, D&C Act, and Disaster Management Act are being considered
- India is one of the largest producers of vaccines in the world
THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: Considering the mounting number of Covid-19 cases, India is inquiring into all possible options for the immediate securement of potential vaccines. The government examines provisions under the Essential Commodities Act, Drugs and Cosmetics Act, and the Disaster Management Act to ensure sufficient vaccines. Moreover, India is strategizing to land substantial bargains for reasonable pricing of vaccine doses.
The Centre is giving serious consideration to Section-3 of the Essential Commodities Act. This Act grants the government the “powers to control production, supply, distribution, etc. of essential commodities” that encompasses vaccines. Additionally, the provision authorizes the Centre to direct pharmaceutical firms to sell “whole” or “specified part of the quantity” to central or state governments in case of need.
“Such provisions are usually not used, and the preferred option is to hold talks and negotiate with manufacturing companies, but in case of extraordinary situations, there are adequate provisions under the existing legislations the government can use to secure adequate supplies for its citizens before stocks are sold to other countries,” informed a senior government official.
However, imposing restrictions is expected to be more rigid on vaccines developed outside India, for instance, Russia’s Sputnik V, as diplomatic negotiations will guide them.
India’s share in the total global vaccine production accounts for the largest in the world. Experts even predict that India has the potential to develop up to 200 mn. Vaccine doses per month. The Serum Institute of India, Pune, boasts of the world’s largest vaccine producer by volume.
In a grave situation, when developed countries are already hoarding COVID therapeutics, India needs to assert its position in the global pharmaceutical market as the leading global manufacturing partner. Further, the government must exercise its powers under the Drugs Price Control Act to implement a price-cap on vaccines’ soaring prices in the general public interest.
Source: ET Healthworld