Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd will sell Sputnik V vaccine at ₹995 per dose for shots imported from Russia and has also begun the soft launch of the covid-19 vaccine in India using the 150,000 shots it had procured earlier this month.

“The imported doses of the vaccine are presently priced at an MRP (maximum retail price) of ₹948 + 5% GST per dose, with the possibility of a lower price point when local supply begins. The company is working closely with its six manufacturing partners in India to fulfil regulatory requirements to ensure smooth and timely supply," the company said in a statement on Friday.

The current price point is, however, higher than the “less than $10 ( ₹732) per dose" indicated by the vaccine’s global commercializing partner, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), in November. For the Centre and states, the vaccine is also priced much higher than Serum Institute of India’s Covishield ( ₹300 per dose) and Bharat Biotech International’s Covaxin ( ₹150 for Centre and ₹400 for states).

At a press conference earlier in the day, M V Ramana, Dr Reddy’s chief executive officer for branded markets (India and emerging markets), said the company is looking to offer the vaccine at lower prices when local production starts from July, but for now, the pricing includes the cost of procurement and transportation from Russia and for internal logistics in India.

He also said that limited doses are expected to be imported from Russia.

“We have a line of sight of 36 million doses for the next couple of months. We obviously are asking RDIF to allocate us more...While we have a confirmation for 36 (million), we are expecting we would get more than 36 (million)," Ramana said.

A second shipment of Sputnik V expected this week is intended for the second dose of the vaccine, he said, adding that Dr Reddy’s is awaiting clarity on whether the consignment will comprise the entire 150,000 doses or a part of it.

Sputnik V involves giving two doses three weeks apart, with each dose made of different adenovirus vectors—Ad26 and Ad5 human adenoviruses.

For now, the company does not have orders from the Union government and states and will only supply to some hospitals where the vaccine can be stored, Ramana said. The Hyderabad-based drug maker will work closely with stakeholders in the government and private sector in India to ensure the widest possible reach of the Sputnik V vaccine.

“With the rising cases in India, vaccination is our most effective tool. Contributing to the vaccination drive in India is our biggest priority to help Indians be healthy and safe," G.V. Prasad, co-chairman and MD, Dr Reddy’s, said in the statement.

Dr Reddy’s signed a pact with RDIF to market 250 million doses of the vaccine. The two-dose jab was developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, with RDIF responsible for commercializing the vaccine globally via manufacturing and distribution pacts.

Out of the total 250 million, Dr Reddy’s will be importing about 15-20% in the next two months before local production kicks in, Ramana said. In India, RDIF has manufacturing pacts with six companies—Hetero Biopharma, Gland Pharma, Stelis Biopharma, Virchow Biotech, Panacea Biotec and Shilpa Medicare—to collectively produce over 850 million doses per year.