Updated on 4 June 2012
Many say that there is also a misconception about the price of vaccines. According to the industry, prices went up not because of shortage of vaccines, but due to demand for higher levels of quality compliance and need to incorporate vaccine vial monitors (VVMs). VVMs are said to be the single biggest cost component as they are sourced from a WHO-approved supplier outside India who has a monopoly on this area. The other argument is that manufacturers have to also account for inflation and a depreciating rupee.
"There is now sufficient capacity in the country to meet the demand for vaccines under the UIP and you are not going to hear of shortages. There are a sufficient number of manufacturers for almost all the UIP vaccines, except the measles vaccine where there is just one manufacturer. Not withstanding this, there is definitely a case for reopening the units with good GMP in place to provide vaccine supply security," says Mr Balasubramaniam.