Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Jul 04, 2002
Industry & Economy - Health
Hepatitis B vaccine prices slashed
MUMBAI, July 3
SERUM Institute of India Ltd (SIIL) has slashed prices of its Hepatitis B vaccine, Gene Vac-B by about 40 per cent.
The maximum retail price of 10 ml vial is now Rs 875 as againt Rs 1,400 earlier. The 0.5 ml (single dose) for paediatric use will now cost Rs 55 as against Rs 90.
Speaking to presspersons in Mumbai today, Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, Chairman, Serum Institute of India Ltd, said that the company is making a major price cut of Rs 525 in the MRP of Gene Vac-B.
According to Dr Poonawalla, with this announcement, a price war is imminent in the Hepatitis B vaccine market. "Other players in this market will now have to slash prices," Dr Poonawalla said. However, there is very little scope for others to slash it further than 40 per cent, he added.
The company first launched the vaccine in the year 2001 and has garnered sales of about Rs 5 crore. "In the next 18 to 20 months, we expect to garner about Rs 20 crore sales especially after this announcement," Dr Poonawalla said.
The price reduction will cost the company a substantial loss in margins, he said. "Being a private company, we can afford to absorb the difference in margins,'' he added. The company has plans to launch two to three vaccines in the next two years." We are currently working on a combination vaccine; DTP (Diphtheria Tetanus Pertussis) and Hepatitis B. It is expected to hit the market in a year's time," Dr Poonawalla said.
The company is also working on an NDDS (New Drug Delivery System) product, which is a nasal delivery of vaccines. Other vaccines in the pipeline include the AIDS vaccine and other combination vaccines.
In the year ended March 2002, SIIL registered sales of Rs 403 crore with exports contributing about Rs 276 crore.
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