Sputnik V to face stiff competition in India despite better efficacy but will help ramp up vaccination drive, says GlobalData

With the Sputnik V vaccine’s recent approval, India now has three vaccines authorized for COVID-19 treatment. However, despite better efficacy over Serum Institute of India/ AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Sputnik V will face stiff competition in India, says GlobalData, a leading data analytics and research company.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) will receive Sputnik V from the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) by mid-May 2021 and local production is expected to commence from July–September 2021 timeframe.

Sputnik V pricing will be key for gaining a solid foothold in India. Its price is expected to be slightly higher compared to Covishield and Covaxin due to its higher efficacy. Currently, both Covishield and Covaxin prices have been capped at INR150 (US$2.02) per dose for vaccination through private hospitals.

Prashant Khadayate, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “India is witnessing the second wave of COVID-19 with over 270,000 confirmed cases reported on 19 April, the highest so far in a single-day. Against this backdrop, supply issues for Covishield and Covaxin are negatively impacting the vaccination drive. Considering this, the approval of Sputnik V will further ramp up the overall vaccination efforts in India.”

Sputnik V is now approved for use in 60 countries globally. It is one of the three global vaccines with more than 90% efficacy besides Pfizer and Moderna. However, data from the Phase II/Phase III bridging study in India is not yet publicly available.

According to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center, India is ranked third globally after the US and China in terms of the total number of vaccine doses administered.

According to the government of India Co-Win dashboard, as of 20 April 2021, Covishield accounts for 91.1% of the overall vaccine doses administered in India, whereas 8.9% belong to Covaxin. India has so far administered over 124 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.

India has fast-tracked the approval process for vaccines developed outside the country. As a result, vaccines developed by companies such as Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are expected to get fast-track approval.

Mr Khadayate concludes: “Even though Sputnik V has better efficacy, its overall market penetration will depend on competitive pricing, government orders and the ability to meet soaring demand through timely supply. However, currently the vaccination drive dynamics are not expected to change in India as Covishield will continue to lead the overall vaccination drive, followed by Covaxin in terms of the daily doses administered. The overall COVID-19 competition will further intensify with the launch of foreign vaccines and Cadila Healthcare’s ZyCov-D soon in India.”

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