As an entrepreneur, you take all the risks, try to be on the right side of the law, keep all the lawmakers happy, the local government happy. Still, in the end, you are criticized as a “shameless capitalist.”
Ambani – Adani have been at the receiving end of this tirade. The latest is another A – Adar Poonawala
Today, the man everyone in India should have been proud of for running the largest vaccine manufacturing plant in the world and providing economical vaccines to his country and the world is being trolled on social media for trying to make a “profit” while people are dying. He is “lying” about vaccine raw material shortage & blaming the US for it.
No wonder he’s been given Y security by the central government.
Now let’s fact check –
Mr Poonawala always said that the vaccines were given to the Indian govt at ₹ 150 because this rate was based on the PREVIOUS order of 100 million doses – now onwards, for all NEW orders, the rate for the state & centre will be identical – ₹ 400 (now ₹ 300, though centre insists that they will get future orders also at ₹ 150 per dose as Modiji always knows how to get the best deal possible)
Then some said this is plain highway robbery- why is he charging so much extra? How can he make such a huge profit in this pandemic?
Have you heard the concept of preorder?
Most of the clients who have got vaccines had preordered – many before even the final studies of AstraZeneca were out!
They had taken the risk of having all their money going down the drain if the studies showed that the vaccine wasn’t working.
Even the US govt had preordered Pfizer vaccines before their final studies were out.
So all these customers who preordered before final results of trials were over, took part in the risk!
So they got the vaccine cheaper – like in the futures market.
But now the studies have come out & whoever is ordering now is NOT taking part in the risk process & that’s why he is paying more.
Let’s remember that the Poonawalas themselves took a huge huge risk by manufacturing the AstraZeneca vaccine on a mass scale BEFORE the final results were out – that too, on the largest scale in the world.
They would have lost a lot of money – so they HEDGED their bets by taking preorders at a much lower rate.
At ₹ 150, Mr Poonawala agreed that they were making a profit. However, profit was not substantial enough for them put back into the business. That’s why the Modi Sarkar gave him & Bharat Biotech a 3000 crore grant (more like an advance) to ramp up facilities.
Now about raw material.
Mr Poonawala made it clear in many TV interviews that the raw material needed from the USA was not for Covishield but for Covovax – another vaccine in its pipeline!
Media went into panic mode pushing the story that India’s vaccine program will seriously suffer (that has been their agenda – create panic – about vaccines, beds, oxygen, medicines & create an atmosphere of gloom & doom)
Neither Mr Poonawala nor the Modi Sarkar ever claimed that Covishield production would get affected by shortage of material
Now, some even question the ‘philanthropic gesture’? Reducing the price from 400 to 300 is no big deal, especially when you have spent Zero on research & using a ready-made vaccine?
They do not consider that SII has to share HALF of its profits with AstraZeneca & has export commitments, including to the UN GAVI effort. Today, SII & AstraZeneca are in the midst of legal problems because they can’t fulfil their obligations to the EU nations where SII was to deliver vaccines as India has banned all exports
So if you think all the money goes in his pockets, you are wrong!!
And why shouldn’t he make any profit?
Doesn’t he need money to invest in his company & people – to have something extra for expansion & emergencies?
Are we going to pay him if his company goes under? Did we support him when he took the gamble of being the largest producer of AstraZeneca Covid 19 vaccines even before final trial results came out ?
Even at ₹ 300, Covishield is one of the most economical vaccines in the world ( check out at what price Pfizer supplied to the USA – even as a preorder – 19.50 $ a dose )
Now there are some like this Chandra Bose who wants Mr Poonawala to give vaccines free to all India! Now from where does Mr Poonawala get money for his production, raw material & transport expenses?
The problem is the lifestyle of the Poonawalas. Horses, vintage cars, private jet – but Poonawalas are a line of industrious businesspeople who have been rich for a long long time. It’s not that they have become rich suddenly now by profiteering in this pandemic! In fact, last year, Mr Poonawala said that the price of the vaccine would be ₹1000 per dose, but thanks to economies of scale & help given by govt, he has been able to come down to ₹300 now.
We Indians will look at them with envy while not questioning what exactly has the fourth richest woman in the world contributed to the nation during these challenging times?
How much has the Rajiv Gandhi foundation contributed to this pandemic? (considering that the govt of India had also contributed to it in the past )
In India, it’s ok to be rich, but don’t flaunt your wealth.
So you have a lady who loves to party hard in Lutyens Delhi. But when the time comes for campaigning in the villages of UP, puts her Western clothes in a cupboard & dons simple cotton sarees & chappals to campaign in her mother’s constituency in UP. Her brother goes around in a kurta with a torn pocket!
That’s how the rich in India should behave. Hiding their wealth away from our jealous eyes.
Because profit is a dirty word.